Social Media

I recently came across an interesting graphic and statistics from Gizmodo


The image is a pretty good graphical representation of what happens on the internet within a 60 second time frame. Pretty amazing how much (stuff) goes on!
• 1500+ blog posts
• 98,000 new tweets
• 12,000 new ads on Craigslist
• 20,000 new posts on Tumblr
• 600 new videos (more than 24 hours worth) on YouTube
• More than 3,000 images each minute to Flickr

It’s no wonder that it is difficult at times to find exactly what you are looking for on the web and a lot of search engines return duplicate and/ or worthless results.

A little fun factoid to ponder: In 2012, internet users in the U.S. will expand by 3.1% to 239 million, representing 75.6% of the total population.

Visual Purple has been on Twitter for some time now (@visualpurplesim), however we thought you might want to follow a few more Twitter peeps.

@visualpurplesim
@gisterpro
@meganrutherford
@edheinbockel

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A recent study released be Nielsen highlights the fact that 22% of all time spent online is on social media networks (some more than others). So what exactly are the big three when it comes to social media giants? Drum roll please… YouTube, Wikipedia and Facebook. The number continues to climb and currently three-quarters of all global consumers who are online spend time on social networking sites.


Image courtesy of Nielsen

The United States Government seems to change their limitations for employees accessing social media on a daily basis- well we do know that the Government has a tendency to change policies regularly, so how does this apply to social media today? While the “loosening of the social media belt” is taking place across the board, certain government organizations are finding it easier to do their jobs because of this. More government organizations are embracing social media, allowing collaboration and sense of community to flourish between employees (and We the People). A recent survey entitled “Social Networking in Government: Opportunities & Challenges” reports that 66 percent of all government agencies are currently using some type of social networking, varying from blogs to Facebook, Twitter, message boards and all the other social networking type of applications. GovLoop is just one such example of a social media platform specifically tailored for the government employee to connect and share information. While the current membership is just approximately 20,000 it is a growing community that is specialized to one target sector. Does this mean that we may see more tailored communities like this to develop in the future?

Socially- referred traffic is becoming the next wave of internet searching; rather than just utilizing the standard Google search feature. Although social search is a relatively new term, just being introduced in 2004/ 2005 it has been extremely successful and a lot of people today value the opinions of others to rank an article. Connections to the social web are becoming more and more commonplace today. Users are able to favorite articles they like and thus the rankings of that article ultimately climb, thus leading to a higher social search ranking. Case in point is shown when an article is tweeted, how many times it is tweeted shows the level of success or Digg for instance where subscribers are able to rate an article based on the thumbs up or thumbs down system. Allowing readers to find and share content is a good method, but what may appeal to one reader may not appeal as much to another reader. Another example is Digg the most “dugg” stories appear on the front page of Digg, this type of voting system has its advantages and disadvantages. So it boils down to human input vs. machine input, does the human input give the user too much control over content?

In some cases social networking sites are generating more referral traffic than the search engine giants. Many media sources (i.e. newspapers online) have made it easy for their loyal fans to easily spread stories across the social search (and rating) landscape. Social feeds have enabled content discovery in a completely different way than past internet systems allowed for. Although the social search is somewhat unique when compared to the main search engine companies (i.e. Google, Yahoo, and Bing) use of machine-based or algorithmic functions, the social search is more so based on personal opinion (by a human). These types of submission and voting systems for social sites are ever most popular and I believe that we will see “social” search continue to grow in the future. It’s these ‘social’ types of relationships that define a lot of computer usage time today. This word-of-mouth nature that social bookmarking allows for is leading to a social revolution of content discovery and ranking.

The talk about generational differences is plentiful…but is there really a difference when everything boils down? Teens vs. Gen Y vs. Gen X are more frequently playing games online utilizing social networking sites, reading blogs/ forums and downloading music. I would say that just about everyone has at least one email address (or in my case 4). We use the Internet to get news, stay in touch and research products and services. Broadband access has increased significantly, giving us what we need to find right at our finger tips. Generation V, or otherwise known as Generation Virtual is not defined by age, nor gender but rather by the use of various channels of digital media utilized to discover information, etc. The online environment is alluring to many. Technology is radically changing and generational differences are becoming more apparent than ever as to what information is accessed and the technology utilized to access it. The variety of generations today are staying within the workforce longer and living longer- so why not adapt online activities and training so all generations can utilize them? Multigenerational workplaces and blending of the generations to be able to utilize one type of training for everyone in an organization is now possible and very beneficial (especially on a tight training budget).

So there’s been a lot of buzz around out there about Google Buzz (no pun intended), that was launched at the beginning of February. Will this be a game changer for social media? While it does bring a new face into the social media application mix does it have the potential to overtake existing well established social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter. While I will admit that it does offer a host of elements that Twitter and Facebook are unable to offer their users, quite simply because it integrates with Gmail. Sure we still get the run of the mill abilities such as: links, photos, status updates, etc. But is this really enough to catapult Google Buzz into a bigger app. than the likes of Twitter and Facebook? Yeah I know Gmail has 176 million users (compared to Facebook’s 400+million active users and over 18 million Twitter users, respectively). While all three of these big names are looking to high growth rates, who will reign supreme at the close of 2010? More than likely because of the Gmail (email) application the majority of these users are actually users, unlike Twitter where some users sign up never to return again. Although Facebook’s user stats are pretty impressive.

While I try to be sociable, updating all of the various applications that I am signed up for would eat a big chunk out of my day. Sure it’s nice to see what other tech and social media junkies are doing and my old high school and college acquaintances but I don’t feel that it needs to be a wasteful activity of potentially productive work time. Not to say that people that are always updating their Twitter and/or Facebook stream have nothing better to do but every little thing one does takes time, regardless if it is only 140 characters or not. In my opinion we are all part of the social revolution taking place, these social conversations enable the ability for one to share our personal experiences and the ins and outs of our daily lives. Sure Buzz doesn’t link to Twitter just yet, but I am sure that it will soon! The issue of privacy controls, not just with Buzz. Facebook seems to be a little tricky with that too as of late. Could Google Buzz be the next big social platform? In the end it’s really all about sharing…

According to a recent NielsenWire report on January 22, 2010, time spent on social networking sites has increased from 3 hours per month to 5.5 hours per month in the last year alone, representing a staggering 82% increase in the use of social media. Yes, I said 82 percent increase!

Is knowing where in the world you are really that important? Well of course you already know where you are, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the 1,000 people that follow you on Twitter should know that too. Twitter’s geolocation service seems to be on again and off again lately. There is not enough time in the day to check out people’s location that you barely know except by seeing a Twitter username and profile picture. And yes Facebook is set to come out with a similar application within the coming month or so. Why is location functionality so important if you are not a marketer trying to sell you something? In my opinion it’s not, rather it’s just another app. that will eat more time out of your day should you choose to use it and see where all of your followers are tweeting from. Is location-based information really that important?

Back in February Linden Labs released a new Second Life 2.0 Beta Viewer. With all of the talk about the recent Second Life Viewer 2.0 Beta release, I figured I would give it a whirl. After I download and install the viewer upgrade, I am in. Well my experience was that I was now a bald avatar… no auburn color hair to blow in the wind. Not to mention just random talking and music at the location I entered at with some vulgar language mixed in. Those not familiar with virtual worlds and not knowing that SL actually has much more to offer may be tempted to exit the new Beta viewer. I on the other hand decide to stay and give SL the benefit of the doubt. Some type of annoying rock music is playing in the background- so I decide the fastest way is to fly in order to get out of the current environment and go explore wherever I was teleported into. Now you’ve got to remember that when I test out virtual worlds I want to approach the experience as a complete newbie to the virtual world- the less I know about all the new bells and whistles of the Second Life Viewer 2.0 Beta the better. I want to see if I really notice a difference, and be surprised by the cool things I might find rather than looking back at the SL blog or any other of the publicity that the Beta viewer had ramped up. Oh now I just ran into the yellow tape asking for age verification- my mind already feels tainted for the party I walked into when entering Second Life so I decide not to even go there. So my quick observations of my 20 minute test drive of the new Second Life Viewer are as follows:
• Ability to share (web content)
• Cleaner and more user friendly navigation menu
• A viewer as 3D browser for the user interface
• Movement away from strictly Linden scripting language (i.e. Flash, PHP, etc.)

In my opinion these changes won’t lead to a stampede of people signing up for Second Life. For regular SL users the new bells and whistles probably don’t even impress all that much, kind of like getting a newer version of your web browser- not too many noticeable changes although may now be happening behind the scenes. However, I can see more potential with the new viewer for companies and educational outlets to utilize SL. Although it is prettier than the prior releases, it doesn’t really take a giant step for Linden Labs, nor virtual worlds for that matter. A little more intuitive, perhaps a little bit better of a user experience. Improvement of overall work applications and use in SL. Who knows what the future holds with Linden Lab’s recent purchase of the social network, Avatars United, is the next step to go more social?