WHEN THE WAITER who has served the family for more than 30 years tells my 80-something mom that he's on Facebook, it becomes impossible to ignore how important online social networking has become. I think things like Twitter are colossal time wasters so I try to put them in time-controlled boxes. However, I'll keep using Twitter (me topgold) because it gives me a social release, along with some creative energy. Nearly a quarter of the people I follow from Ireland can be categorised as "creators" when using Forrester Research's metric because Forrester thinks all bloggers are creative. A lot of those people are in the Touchgraph screenshot above. However, fewer than 10% of the people I follow actually create interesting things worth mentioning in posts, tweets, or comments. Most of those I follow just spotlight interesting things, link to new content or argue about mainstream events. I tune out a lot of that direct chatter and absorb it via aggregators. After all, I can't listen to the live stream of more than 2000 voices chatting at the same time.
Forrester says "half of online adults now belong to social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, a 46 percent growth rate year-over-year." Even if you're a die-hard blog hater like Ryan Tubridy (a late night television host in Ireland), you cannot ignore the fact that your audience is over in the corner using their computers instead of watching you on television.
And for personalities like Ryan Tubridy and Matt Cooper, mainstream media faces in Ireland, most growth in social networking is occurring among adults 35 and older. Four of five adults of all ages use social media, at least monthly. With the help of aggregators, you can visit a social networking site, read your favourite blogs, watch video clips or listen to audio all inside the same browser window. Here are the Forrester numbers:
Percent of Adults Who:
Visit social networking sites: 50%
Read blogs: 39%
Contribute to forums and discussion groups: 23%
Review products or services: 19%
Listen to podcasts: 16%
Pubilsh, maintain or update a blog: 12%
Use RSS feeds: 9%
Contribute to/edit articles in a wiki: 5%
I heard about the Forrester Report while listening to For Immediate Release. One week later, the New York Times carried the story.