I have a confession… I have become addicted to social networking, more specifically Twitter and Facebook. Ok, well maybe addiction is a little too harsh, but I am always curious as to what is happening within my network – who went where and what the big weekend plans are. And although I hear the question posed everyday, “What’s a Tweet?” for us social networking junkies, we all know. Connecting with long lost friends and receiving quick, real-time status updates on what everyone is doing without even picking up the phone or sending off an email is very appealing within this increasingly digital, fast-paced society; social media has become a daily aspect of our lives.
So this is all great (I think)… but how does this relate to the blog. Well I thought it appropriate to address social networking applications being baked in to virtual worlds.
First let’s review some quick stats on the recent explosion of social media.
Nielsen reported in October 2008 that Twitter was the fastest growing social networking site, with growth of 343% in 12 months! Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reunion.com are most popular among visitors ages 25-34, 35-49, and 55-64, respectively.
“As of December 2008, 11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others. Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults. Nearly one in five (19%) online adults ages 18 and 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults 25 to 34. Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35 to 44 year olds and 5% of 45 to 54 year olds using Twitter. The decline is even more stark among older internet users; 4% of 55-64 year olds and 2% of those 65 and older use Twitter.” According to Pew Internet.
Here are a few thoughts on what the future may hold for social media within the virtual worlds:
-Look for more in-world interaction, increase in avatar-based communication and new companies entering the social media landscape.
-Enhanced sense of community and social presence.
-More and more people establishing themselves in virtual worlds solely for the social aspect of it.
-More real-time collaboration taking place in virtual worlds.
-Deeper and more engaging interactions.