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.
A recent post on Advertising Age entitled “What Social Media Will Look Like in 2012” captured my attention and got me thinking (this could be dangerous, I know). Needless to say the article speculated that in 2009 most major marketers adopted social media as something that is here to stay and not just a fad. While I agree with this to some extent, the article went on to outline the eleven points to watch for in the coming years leading up to 2012.
• Privacy expectations will have to change: Sharing more personal information with people you don’t even know…hummm although some may be all into this I don’t think it is necessary for complete strangers to know my favorite color or what my preferred pizza topping is.
• Complete decentralization of social networks: Everything is becoming more portable from iPad to iPhone many check friend’s status updates and news while on the run.
• Our interactions with search engines will be different: I agree with the fact that real-time information will be king.
• Rise of content aggregators: Who wants to login to 5 different social networking services to check on statuses and news- the aggregator can serve as man’s best friend.
• Social media augmented reality: Kind of scary to know what your friend is doing before even picking up the phone to call. This to me takes away a certain level of personal contact, just like email has reduced the number of snail mail letters that are sent.
• Influencer marketing will be redefined: Social influence will have more pull than the old-school search features that Google and other major search engines currently offer.
• Ratings everywhere: User ratings could hinder or help, all dependent upon the specific instance. A lot of purchasers nowadays look at how products are rated by users before ultimately making the purchase decision.
• Social media agents: Oh great! More things going automated and taking the person out of the customer service experience, please press 0 not to be connected to a live person.
• Riding the Google (wave): It could be the next big thing, but only time will tell.
• Thinking beyond “nowness”: Could the answer really be the semantic web?
• Social media everything and return of digital media: Not too sure that social media may change to being referred to as digital media.
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.
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?
Happy Holidays to one and all from Visual Purple!
A weekly wrap-up on what’s going on within the Virtual World sphere and beyond! Click on any of the below titles to read the full story.
Habbo, Facebook Link Up
My Grandmother used to be a fruitcake-making junkie each year when the holiday season rolled around- many friends and family would graciously accept then turn right around and regift “Grandma’s famous homemade fruitcake.” So this got me thinking- social media tools are a lot like a fruitcake. Although thought, care and a little love may initially be baked in, the end result is nuts and the weird fruit candy-like things. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. are the social media kitchens, but often at the end of the day, it’s still the same fruitcake!
Some almost relevant tidbits you might enjoy… Online communities and social networks are becoming more and more mainstream, a part of our everyday lives (both personal and professional). So here is a scary stat: With the ever growing size of Facebook’s 300-million active users, if Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth most populous in the world.
So in reality it’s fitting how the term ‘fruitcake’ can also reference a crazy person. Every time I see the commercial for Verizon selling phones where the parents and kids are on the back porch and Dad is tweeting: “Sitting on the back porch,” I chuckle to myself about how true this is with some social media updates today. Although I have carefully handpicked the people I follow on Twitter I still see random tweets like “sitting on the plane waiting to take off” or “going out to Mexican food with the girls.” Although these tweets do depict an activity- are they really relevant? I tend to want to follow people that have the same interests as I do- although I have not met most of them face-to-face I can tell a little bit about them just in the way that they tweet. So on a whim I decided to try posting a ‘pointless’ tweet and see what the reaction was. Although there was no reaction after I pressed the ‘tweet’ button, I felt like I had jipped my followers (sorry, loyal followers!)… Here I was, yet another person in cyberspace that had posted a tweet with no real value and was in fact, pointless…who knows I’ll probably see it re-tweeted soon…wish I liked fruitcake…
With the emergence and ever-growing popularity of social media I thought it only proper to address social media influences and uses within a virtual world application.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, let me provide you with the Wikipedia definition of Social Media: “Social media is information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologue (one to many) into dialog (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal and business. Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM)”.
While the majority of technology users have heard of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace (and most of us are probably guilty of using at least one of these applications, if not all) how will they integrate or influence interactions within a virtual world? 3D chat within a virtual world currently is an option in a handful of VW’s. However, will they become mainstream in the future?
Some Quick Stats:
-Twitter still continues to grow despite constant outages and other issues. In fact Nielsen reported in October 2008 that Twitter is growing as much as 343% in 12 months.
-Facebook is now growing by about 600,000 users each day.
-Blog readership has grown by over 66% in the last year.
-According to ELearning Magazine “Approximately 47% of enterprises are reportedly planning to use social networks for employee, customer and channel communications. What once was considered a productivity drain, has now moved to the mainstream of HR, Training, Sales and Service department operations. Organizations are realizing real business benefits from these new collaboration tools”.
The 3D application of Just Leap In allows you to connect to friends on Facebook. Second Life is looking to embrace social media within its platform. Are there drawbacks? Yes. Well, for one thing if one is training/ learning in a virtual world social media would not be the best device to focus on the content at hand. Most would much rather be updating their status on a social media application. “Here I sit writing a blog entry…” While collaboration should be encouraged is the integration of social networking within virtual worlds for training a must? And if so, how and to what extent?
Most of us have heard of the “video-game” generation, or are even a part of it. Today’s generation of teenagers grew up with a mouse in their hand and the Internet in their back pocket. With the success of Virtual Worlds today most popular among the pre-teen and teenage years most understand that the next generation of employees to enter the workforce will be extremely well versed with computers and very accepting to technology based around computer learning and training. Factor in the various social networks, like MySpace and Face book and you will find that by incorporating this type of training into the workplace would be beneficial for any type of employer. Long gone are the days when the employer asks an interviewee about past computer experience, and average words per minute typed – as nearly all of the 20 and 30 something’s today have extensive computer knowledge. The next generation to enter the workforce will expect the employer to offer capabilities within the computer realm that they have become accustomed to growing up in the “computer world.” This new generation of workers is changing the way business is done. Immersive elements and environments bring the player in to a new realm of learning…We live in a video game culture. Highly skilled, more effective workers are now in the workplace – ultimately increasing business efficiency.