Here are all of the posts tagged ‘social networks’.
Mobile technology is making every experience both digital and social. That means that the experiences that we previously thought of as happening “off line” now play by the same rules as online experiences. The same principles that make things spread online now need to be applied to real world experiences to help them spread in the digital space.
eMarketer have released a new report, “UK Social Media: Joining the Conversation” which is a useful compendium of the latest stats on social media usage in the UK, along with some spot-on commentary and advice from the author of the report, Karin von Abrams:
No commercial enterprise can afford to ignore social media
As part of her research for the report, Karin conducted an interview with me which she’s been kind enough to let me publish here:
The latest Nielsen report’s “Global Faces and Networked Places” highlights social media as the global consumer phenomenon of 2008: two-thirds of the world’s internet population now visit a social network or a blogging site and social media accounts for 10% of the overall internet time. So much so that social media has now overtaken personal emails as the 4th more popular activity online.
In December 2008, out of every 11 minutes spent online globally, 1 minute was spent within social media (1 minute out of 6 in the UK!). And we’re not just talking about students sharing photos of their parties on Facebook. As social media is becoming more mainstream, the average age of users is also shifting: one third of the Facebook audience is now within the 35-49 years old bracket and one-fourth is over 40. It’s also nice to hear that although Germany arrived quite late to the social media party, they’re now catching up with their European counterparts – good timing for our German website!
As the time spent interacting in social media is growing, the share of time held by other sectors is diminishing and so is the effectiveness of traditional online advertising.
The report rightfully points out that:
Advertising must be a conversation rather than a push-model. The point that social networks members are co-creators of content [...] means advertising should be about participating in a relevant conversation with consumers rather than simply pushing ads on them. After all it is social media. Advertising shouldn’t be about interrupting or invading the social network, it should be part of this conversation.
Earlier in the week, comScore released their latest figures on European social network usage, which Neville then kindly graphed in Excel for us all:
A pretty astounding chart that shows social media’s impact isn’t limited just to the US and the UK. comScore also released data for the Asia Pacific region on the same day – anyone fancy combining the 2 sets of data into one chart?
“Corporate communications have radically changed” says Andy Sernovitz, chief executive of the Blog Council, an organisation for heads of social media at big companies. “It’s no longer just companies talking to the press, and customer service talking to customers. All these other people showed up in the -middle. They may not be press and they may not be customers, but suddenly their collective voice is bigger than the traditional channels.”
The essence of social media is conversation. Rather than a one-way stream of information, where companies make announcements to the press and customers, social media enables a great deal of interaction, where companies are in constant dialogue with the public. “We’ve seen a shift from doing things the old way to now having conversations with our customers,” says Jeanette Gibson, director of new media for Cisco Systems.
The above comes from an article in today’s FT, about as mainstream a business publication as you can get, a sign that perhaps Europe is beginning to hear the siren call of the changes that social media is bringing to business. Again, Twitter is on the agenda:
Companies are using Twitter to douse public relations fires before they erupt. Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford Motors, used Twitter to appease users who were angry after the carmaker sued an enthusiast website that was selling unauthorised Ford merchandise. When fans of the enthusiast site posted angry messages, Mr Monty “tweeted back” to explain the company’s position.
Bonin Bough, who was appointed director of social media for PepsiCo last year, also used Twitter to defuse a brewing crisis after the company released a series of advertisements depicting a cartoon calorie character committing suicide.
We’d not disagree with this – in fact we’ve been pioneering this approach on behalf of Skype since last year (and Scott Monty is a friend of the family, so to speak), but the focus should be on the overall conversation, of which Twitter is yet just a small part – forums and blogs are likely to remain the most significant venues for some appreciable time (this will vary, of course, depending on the sector you’re in – for example, if you’re Sony BMG, MySpace won’t have lost its significance just yet).
However, Melissa Bounoua’s article in Forbes earlier in the week makes a valid point:
Most European companies haven’t even heard of Twitter, and some might think it’s a time waster. A spokeswoman for energy firm Total says that Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie has no idea what Twitter is. British Telecom says it doesn’t have a Twitter account and doesn’t plan to open one. Nestle’s communications manager says using Twitter “just never came up within the group strategy.” In general, experts say Europeans don’t latch on to new social networking technologies as quickly as Americans.
I’d swap ‘Europeans’ with ‘European companies’ – as far as the general population is concerned, Europe is ahead of the US – with a higher proportion of the UK population using social networking and Twitter than the US (and the rest of Europe broadly comparable) and all of Europe but Germany and Austria way ahead in terms of blog readership.
However, despite the FT’s urging, her analysis is sadly correct when it comes to European companies. We are here to help…
You’re going to be bombarded with lots of buzzwords in this post – don’t be put off. By the end, you’ll have a vision of the future of the web you never thought possible. Let’s start with Alisa Leonard-Hansen‘s presentation explaining portable social graphs:
They gives us a glimpse of what the next few years will bring in terms of the whole web becoming social. To quote Charlene Li:
in the future, social networks will be like air. They will be anywhere and everywhere we need and want them to be
We’ve already implemented Facebook Connect, allowing you to use your Facebook identity to log-on and post comments and for your Facebook friends to get told about those comments in their news feeds (when Gawker Media did this, user registrations were up by 45% and comments up by 16% compared to the previous week).
To really begin to see the potential for yourself, have a look at how The Insider is using it, JC Penney’s recent Beware of the Doghouse campaign or the early efforts from Vimeo, Brightkite and Eventbrite.
An almost unbelievable couple of graphs from Robin Goad at Hitwise, the first showing that 10.09% of all UK internet visits last week were to ‘Social Networking and Forums’.
And the second showing Facebook’s inexorable growth.
There’s some more in depth data available in Hitwise’s UK Social Networking Update from July this year, and it’s worth remembering these sort of growth curves apply across social media, with this graph showing a similarly stratospheric rise in UK blog traffic.
over the last 3 years UK Internet traffic to out Blogs and Personal Websites category has increased by 208%, compared to 70% for News and Media. Another interesting fact is that the market share of blogs is greater in the UK than the USA: 1.09% and 0.73% respectively in May.
The trend also seems to apply even to Twitter
Again, a nice quote from Robin Goad:
UK Internet visits to Twitter have increased by 631% over the last 12 months, with 485% of that growth coming this year. Twitter is more popular with Brits than Americans: last week the site’s share of UK Internet visits was 70% higher its share of visits in America. Twitter cannot yet be considered mainstream in the USA, but in the UK it’s getting there.
Roll on 2009…
Update 21st Jan ’09 – The latest UK Twitter stats.