Posts from the ‘Watching the Trends’ Category

Balancing Your Time on Social Media II – The Survey Results.

By Margie Tosch
Tuesday, 20th April 2010

Last topic was about the time you spend on social media, and how you balance that with everything else you need to do, it included a brief survey, and I have to admit, I was surprised by the results. According to you, social media isn’t the big time drain that many fear it is (or will become).

Here is the response:

The highest percentage of you spend only 1 -2 hours per week on your Facebook fan page, with the next percentage down being almost equally split between spending slightly more (3 – 5 hours per week) and slightly less (less than 1 hour per week). Only 14.2% of respondents do not have a fan page. If you don’t it’s time to get one! Facebook has now passed Google in hits. Only 2.7% spend more than 15 hours per week on their fan page.

42% of respondents are not using Twitter, of the remainder, approximately 25% spend less than 1 hour per week, and approximately 19% spend 1 – 2 hours per week. Linkedin was the least popular site for business, with a whopping 47.9% saying they spend no time on the site.

The biggest surprise for me was how much time you devote to your company website: Over 10% of you spend over 10 hours per week on your website (with many of those spending over 15 hours!), although on the other end of the spectrum, 15% of you do not spend any time at all maintaining your website during a typical week.

Almost 60% of respondents feel that the time they are devoting to social media is about right, only 10% feel that it’s taking too much time away from other duties.

Even more important is that you do predict big growth in social media, with over 65% believing that they will increase their time on social media in the future.

Here are some of your thoughts (I am sorry I don’t have room to print all of them):

“Should you even use Facebook if you can’t put in the time? We had others posting things that had nothing to to with us but we didn’t know it for quite some time because we don’t update it very often. If you can’t use it right, ie put in the time, should you have it at all?” The answer: No.

“Getting the balance right seems to be very difficult as results from social media time are not always measurable. Although I take quite a lot of pleasure updating, tweeting, blogging etc I feel it sometimes interferes with other more important issues and seeking direct immediate contact with potential customers.”

“Twitter – I haven’t yet figured out why anyone would want to hear drivel from me every 3 min. I sure don’t want to hear what anyone else is doing or thinking every couple of minutes.” If you are tweeting every few minutes you are over using! There are varying opinions, however I don’t follow hyper twitterers, I don’t have that much time to follow, and I only want to see posts that provide me with real information or something of interest.

“I spend a couple hours a month coming up with “targets” for social media: ideas/recipes for blogs, our schedule of events, themes for posts, etc. It makes knowing what to write about much easier, and frees up time during the day for me to log-on and focus on interacting with our Friends. Since taking on this strategy, there’s been a huge upswing in our online activity!” Good strategy!

“The “Flock” browser makes a simple “one window” experience of all my social networking sites! Easy as email!” Thanks for the tip!

“Social media is a MUST in this day and age….anyone who doesn’t have a page is totally missing the boat.”

“Very difficult as we are a franchisable model looking to eventually move in to other markets, so we are busy networking and planting seeds in potential expansion areas. Additionally with social media technology changing so rapidly right now hard to take a breath and and relax! Maybe we need to develop a social media support group!…Hello my name is Mike and I am addicted to Social Networking!” Hang on Mike, someone’s probably working on it!

“I had not really worried about Facebook, especially since our website generates well over one million hits per year, but a social site could add that little bit of business which puts us over the top. The growth of Facebook has been phenomenal over the past year.”

“I find much social media too intrusive and overdone. Hearing from a company more than once a week invites deletion from dilution.” This is why it’s recommended that only 1 of 10 posts have anything to do with sales – SM is about connecting and conversation, not sales!

“More important, where does my customer go for information and buy my product? What does a fan club do… create a customer community that keeps that buying my brand instead of trying another wine? Twitter is so in the moment I’m not sure yet how to use this Then I need to match my customer demographics to usage of the following social media outlets.” Exactly, which is why I conduct customer surveys on social media usage for clients. Need one? Email me or call me at 707-933-0687 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              707-933-0687      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.”

“I think it’s a fad that will run its course and will revert to communication for teenagers or others who do not have serious work to do! Honestly, who cares what people had for lunch today?” I think time will prove this isn’t a fad – it’s technology, which keeps on marching forward…

“I run my business by myself and could use training on how to streamline the social media time sucker as now I don’t think I’m very proficient and don’t take full advantage of it.” I am happy to help / coach! Email me or call me at 707-933-0687 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              707-933-0687      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

“SM serves as a customer service for us. It is critical to monitor what people are saying about our food, service and over all dining experience. The time I spend on SM each week varies. The amount of time I spend each week monitoring boards/sites/reviews is in-valuable because it is our best opportunity to communicate directly with customers. This was a hard sell for me initially to the owners of the restaurant but, the results pay off every time I comment or respond to user feedback weather it’s good or bad!”

For the complete report, take the survey via the below link:

If you have already taken the survey and would like an updated report (the numbers may change as more people participate) simply click through, the survey software should remember you, simply hit submit again (it will not count your answers twice).

– Margie


Harnessing Social Media

News outlets are assigning staffers to focus on networking.

From AJR,   March 2010

By Stephanie Gleason
Stephanie Gleason is an AJR editorial assistant.

Trending in journalism right now: #social media editors.

With more than 400 million active users, Facebook celebrated its sixth birthday in February. And while sites like and experienced a decline in the number of unique visitors last year, Twitter’s total increased by almost 300 percent. The future of journalism is uncertain, but clearly social networking is booming.

Social media’s prominence has led many news organizations to hire social media editors, full-time staff members–sometimes several full-time staff members–completely dedicated to the rapidly growing phenomenon.

In January, the Associated Press named 27-year-old Lauren McCullough to fill this role, joining the New York Times, the BBC and many others in creating such a position. There are 51 “main social-media editors at media outlets,” according to a list compiled by Sree Sreenivasan, dean of student affairs at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a self-described technology evangelist/skeptic. The list includes news organizations ranging from CNN to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to the Tampa Tribune.

McCullough, whose title is manager of social networks and news engagement, works with two other social media editors. McCullough is no stranger to social media: She says she was connected with “citizen journalism, as we used to call it” and social networks during her three years at the AP, first as an online coordinator and then as the social networks and special projects producer.

Although she characterizes her role as both emerging and evolving, McCullough says that the team’s fundamental task is monitoring what goes on in the digital world. This means, she says, “having a core set of people that are keeping an eye on various social networks and have an understanding of what’s being talked about, what’s trending, what’s hot and then, certainly, as rumors of news start to percolate on social networks, we’re making sure that AP is aware of it.”

The team looks for articles, tips and eyewitness reports to complement the work being done by AP reporters when news breaks, maintains AP accounts on Facebook and Twitter and trains reporters in how to use social networks in their journalism.

“From a journalistic perspective, we’re looking to engage with audiences and to create a conversation around the news,” she says. “We’re looking to bring news consumers into the process, and not just the AP process but to showcase excellent content from our members and customers.”

Steve Myers, the managing editor of Poynter Online, says social media editors do much more than promote their news organizations’ work. News outlets, he says, are “trying to have a single person with a personality interact with their audience and sort of solicit feedback and comments from them as well as promote their work. It’s definitely a two-way street.”

Sreenivasan says the social media editor “is a new breed of person in the newsroom who is able to bring immense value by harnessing all the content that the newsroom provides and help bring it eyeballs and traffic.” This “is crucial as a business decision, but it also makes for really good ways to help you listen for better stories, trends and ideas.”

And for some news organizations, this effort is yielding results. Robert Quigley, social media editor at the Austin American-Statesman, says that social media are helping newspapers reach an audience, especially when major news erupts, that is traditionally hard for them to penetrate. “During Hurricane Ike in the fall of 2008, we set up a special account just for the hurricane called @trackingike. That weekend we drove over 300,000 visitors to our site from Twitter alone.”

During the shootings at Fort Hood last November, the paper’s dedicated Twitter account pushed tens of thousands of visitors to the Statesman’s site who likely wouldn’t have come otherwise, he says.

Apart from driving site traffic, Quigley sees value in the personal connection social media provide. “People who would not have paid attention to the newspaper otherwise feel like they’re a part of the newspaper,” he says. “They feel like they know a lot of our staff writers and reporters personally, because it’s such a personal medium. And that’s valuable.”

In order for news organizations to take advantage of that value, someone has to be engaging the audience on Facebook, teaching reporters best practices for Twitter and staying on top of emerging social networks and technologies.

At its best, Sreenivasan sees the role as both a “listener in chief” who is aware of what is being talked about and trending online, and as a “cheerleader in chief for social media. It’s a teaching function as well.”

Quigley, who previously was the Statesman’s Internet editor, says he spends a lot of time working with staffers on social networking, running newsroom seminars and issuing weekly newsletters. McCullough says that training is an ongoing project to make sure AP staff all over the world incorporate social networking into their journalism.

Pete Sweigard, who directs social media efforts at the Baltimore Sun along with community coordinators, says “it helps to have dedicated people to help with training and awareness of new things,” because otherwise it can be hard for reporters to pull away from the demands of putting out a newspaper and engage in social media.

Social media editors understand a culture that many who are new to social networking may not. Quigley points out that newspapers are not exactly in the vanguard as far as social networking is concerned. “We are very conscious that we are kind of intruders into social media, and for the news to be there, we need to be doing it right,” he says. “We need to be respectful of the medium and not just put links everywhere.”

Sreenivasan says, “What the editor does that the lay people don’t do is that they’re listening for what’s working and what’s not in social media.”

Having a staffer directing a social media effort is important because the way the audience comes to news stories online is changing, says Monty Cook, editor of the Baltimore Sun. Rather than heading straight for a homepage, readers “pick and choose stories to come into Web sites through outside linking… I do think you’re seeing the culture start to pivot in some way.”

While the new position may be crucial, a news outlet’s social media presence cannot rest completely on the social media editor. “I think it would be silly of a news organization to make it all about one person,” Sreenivasan says. “Everybody should be doing this. Everybody should be participating and engaged. This is new work that needs to be done.”

While the Sun has a dedicated team, it works with others in the newsroom on creating a voice online, and thinking about what audiences look for and what benefit social media have for a journalist. Last December, the Sun was named the newspaper with the best Twitter IQ in a report by the Bivings Group, an Internet communications firm. The Austin American-Statesman came in second.

Sreenivasan says social media in 2010 are at a stage similar to radio in 1912 and television in 1950. “That means there are a lot of opportunities for your news organization,” he says. “If your news organization is fixed on what it can and cannot do today, that’s a mistake. It would be as if you cemented all the roles in 1912. You wouldn’t have done that. You might make a mistake if you’d done that.”

Social Media 101

Tweet advice from Tasti D-Lite’s man behind the Face(book)

By Gini Dietrich
As published in: Franchise Times – February 2010

Over the past few months, this column has focused on social media. So much so, in fact, that we’ve changed the name from “PR 101” to “Social Media 101.” Did you notice?

I’ve given you tools to listen to, monitor and begin participating in conversations happening online. So, this month, I thought I’d showcase a franchise that is using social media especially well —Tasti D-Lite—to give you an example of how social media can be practically implemented within a franchise system.

B.J. Emerson is the face behind the Twitter handle for Tasti D-Lite, a frozen dessert franchise that has a cult-like following in New York City. They began franchising to extend “the cult” to other parts of the country, and Emerson is tasked not only with connecting to the most highly engaged customers, but also finding new franchisees and building brand awareness in new cities.

I’m really impressed with the work Emerson does—he knows how to build a community and engage the Tasti D-Lite tribe. When I speak to members of the franchise industry and CEOs about social media, I use Tasti D-Lite as a case study. The company has been able to show how social media campaigns can drive traffic to stores, which answers the “What’s the ROI of social media?” question.

I recently asked Emerson how he handles it all and what his feelings are on outsourcing some of what he does. Following is our conversation:

Is it possible to effectively outsource relationships?

The critical item with any outsourced social media campaign is communication between the client and firm. Successfully putting your relationships with your customers in someone else’s hands depends on how well you communicate your vision and values and how well the insights and information are fed back to the organization—how they are used to accomplish your objectives.

At what point should an organization consider outsourcing its social media?

If current initiatives are not producing the expected results or if internal resources are stretched, it may be a good time to consider consultation with an outside firm.

They may have a specific campaign you could test-drive with an external partner and focus internal resources on other social media objectives.

What are the drawbacks to outsourcing?

If you have the resources and appropriate talent, the experience and perspective that can be gained from firsthand virtual engagement with customers is invaluable. If outsourced, these insights will need to be carefully communicated through the partner. If you feel out of touch with the customer, something needs to change.

Are there social networks you should not, under any circumstance, outsource?

It would depend on how an online community is being used and what the objectives are. For example, using Twitter for collecting customer insights would be different than using it for handling customer service. The latter would likely be more difficult to effectively outsource. Activities involving a greater level of intimacy with the customer deserve closer management and internal control. Both client and partner should be able to recognize these situations.

What is the secret to building a Facebook fan page?

Both Facebook groups and pages have pros and cons for franchisees and we decide which to use on a case-by-case basis. Either way, connections are initially made with friends and previously identified fans in the market. Then we let Facebook do its thing as we provide content and interaction.

How can a franchisee use social media to target specific demographics?

A good start is with Facebook ads because you can target them based on what people have put in their profiles, such as interests, location, networks, birthday, etc. Following people on Twitter or creating a Google AdWords campaign based on keywords allows you to get in front of specific groups of people and grow a community for your brand. All of these initiatives require various amounts of time and money, obviously, but if you participate in the spirit of the community that has been established, you will do well.

Gini Dietrich is chief executive officer of Arment Dietrich Public Relations in Chicago. Gini can be reached at or 312-787-7249 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              312-787-7249      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults

by Amanda Lenhart, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith and Kathryn Zickuhr, Pew Internet & American Life Project
February 3, 2010

This is part of a Pew Research Center series of reports exploring the behaviors, values and opinions of the teens and twenty-somethings that make up the Millennial Generation

Summary of Findings

Since 2006, blogging has fallen among teens and young adults while simultaneously rising among older adults. As the tools and technology embedded in social networking websites change, and use of the sites continues to grow, youth may be exchanging ‘macro-blogging’ for micro-blogging with status updates.

Blogging has declined in popularity among both teens and young adults since 2006. Blog commenting has also fallen among teens.

  • 14% of online teens now say they blog, down from 28% of teen internet users in 2006.
  • This decline is also reflected in the lower incidence of teen commenting on blogs within social networking websites; 52% of teen social network users report commenting on friends’ blogs, down from the 76% who did so in 2006.
  • By comparison, the prevalence of blogging within the overall adult internet population has remained steady in recent years. Pew Internet Project surveys since 2005 have consistently found that roughly one-in-ten online adults maintain a personal online journal or blog.

While blogging among adults as a whole has remained steady, the prevalence of blogging within specific age groups has changed dramatically in recent years. Specifically, a sharp decline in blogging by young adults has been tempered by a corresponding increase in blogging among older adults.

  • In December 2007, 24% of online 18-29-year-olds reported blogging, compared with 7% of those ages 30 and older.
  • By 2009, just 15% of internet users ages 18-29 maintained a blog — a nine-percentage-point drop in two years. However, 11% of internet users ages 30 and older now maintain a personal blog.

Both teen and adult use of social networking sites has risen significantly, yet there are shifts and some declines in the proportion of teens using several social networking site features.

  • 73% of wired American teens now use social networking websites, a significant increase from previous surveys. Just over half of online teens (55%) used social networking sites in November 2006 and 65% did so in February 2008.
  • As the teen social networking population has increased, the popularity of some sites’ features has shifted. Compared with activity in February 2008, a smaller proportion of teens in mid-2009 were sending daily messages to friends via social networking sites, or sending bulletins, group messages or private messages on the sites.
  • 47% of online adults use social networking sites, up from 37% in November 2008.
  • Young adults act much like teens in their tendency to use these sites. Fully 72% of online 18-29-year-olds use social networking websites, nearly identical to the rate among teens, and significantly higher than the 40% of internet users ages 30 and older who use these sites.
  • Adults are increasingly fragmenting their social networking experience as a majority of those who use social networking sites (52%) say they have two or more different profiles. That is up from 42% who had multiple profiles in May 2008.
  • Facebook is currently the most commonly used online social network among adults. Among adult profile owners, 73% have a profile on Facebook, 48% have a profile on MySpace and 14% have a LinkedIn profile.1
  • The specific sites on which young adults maintain their profiles are different from those used by older adults: Young profile owners are much more likely to maintain a profile on MySpace (66% of young profile owners do so, compared with just 36% of those ages 30 and older) but less likely to have a profile on the professionally-oriented LinkedIn (7% vs. 19%). In contrast, adult profile owners under 30 and those 30 and older are equally likely to maintain a profile on Facebook (71% of young profile owners do so, compared with 75% of older profile owners).

Teens are not using Twitter in large numbers. While teens are bigger users of almost all other online applications, Twitter is an exception.

  • 8% of internet users ages 12-17 use Twitter.2 This makes Twitter as common among teens as visiting a virtual world, and far less common than sending or receiving text messages — as 66% of teens do — or going online for news and political information, done by 62% of online teens.
  • Older teens are more likely to use Twitter than their younger counterparts; 10% of online teens ages 14-17 do so, compared with 5% of those ages 12-13.
  • High-school-age girls are particularly likely to use Twitter. 13% of online girls ages 14-17 use Twitter, compared with 7% of boys that age.
  • Using different wording, we find that 19% of adult internet users use Twitter or similar services to post short status updates and view the updates of others online.
  • Young adults lead the way when it comes to using Twitter or status updating. One-third of online 18-29 year-olds post or read status updates.

Wireless internet use rates are especially high among young adults, and the laptop has replaced the desktop as the computer of choice among those under age 30.

  • 81% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are wireless internet users. By comparison, 63% of 30-49 year-olds and 34% of those ages 50 and older access the internet wirelessly.
  • Roughly half of 18-29 year-olds have accessed the internet wirelessly on a laptop (55%) or on a cell phone (55%), and about one quarter of 18-29 year-olds (28%) have accessed the internet wirelessly on another device such as an e-book reader or gaming device.
  • The impact of the mobile web can be seen in young adults’ computer choices. Two-thirds of 18-29 year-olds (66%) own a laptop or netbook, while 53% own a desktop computer. Young adults are the only age cohort for which laptop computers are more popular than desktops.
  • African Americans adults are the most active users of the mobile web, and their use is growing at a faster pace than mobile internet use among white or Hispanic adults.

Cell phone ownership is nearly ubiquitous among teens and young adults, and much of the growth in teen cell-phone ownership has been driven by adoption among the youngest teens.

  • Three-quarters (75%) of teens and 93% of adults ages 18-29 now have a cell phone.
  • In the past five years, cell phone ownership has become mainstream among even the youngest teens. Fully 58% of 12-year-olds now own a cell phone, up from just 18% of such teens as recently as 2004.

Internet use is near ubiquitous among teens and young adults. In the last decade, the young adult internet population has remained the most likely to go online.

  • 93% of teens ages 12-17 go online, as do 93% of young adults ages 18-29. One quarter (74%) of all adults ages 18 and older go online.
  • Over the past 10 years, teens and young adults have been consistently the two groups most likely to go online, even as the internet population has grown and even with documented larger increases in certain age cohorts (e.g. adults 65 and older).

Our survey of teens also tracked some core internet activities by those ages 12-17 and found:

  • 62% of online teens get news about current events and politics online.
  • 48% of wired teens have bought things online like books, clothing or music, up from 31% who had done so in 2000 when we first asked about this.
  • 31% of online teens get health, dieting or physical fitness information from the internet. And 17% of online teens report they use the internet to gather information about health topics that are hard to discuss with others such as drug use and sexual health topics.

Read the full report at

1. Because respondents were allowed to mention multiple sites on which they maintain a profile, totals may add to more than 100%.
2. The question is asked differently among teens and adults. Teens were asked “Do you ever use Twitter?” while adults were asked “have you ever used Twitter or another service where you can update your status online?” which may explain some of the difference in the data between the two groups.

20+ mind-blowing social media statistics revisited

Posted 29 January 2010 10:07am by Jake Hird

It’s around six months since I last threw out some truly mindboggling pieces of data surrounding social media. So, what’s happened between then and now?

I try to put as much information as I can into Econsultancy’s Social Media Statistics, which is part of our Stats Compendium (a truly awesome resource) but I find it’s always interesting to go back and review the old against the new.

So, I’ve collected as much as I can from my previous insane snippets of data and benchmarked it against the here and now, alongside rooting out some new stuff for you to mull over.

If six months ago, it wasn’t a compelling case to consider social media in the marketing mix, then this hopefully might change your mind…

  • Facebook claims that 50% of active users log into the site each day. This would mean at least 175m users every 24 hours… A considerable increase from the previous 120m.
  • Twitter now has 75m user accounts, but only around 15m are active users on a regular basis. It’s still a fair increase from the estimated 6-10m global users from a few months ago.
  • LinkedIn has over 50m members worldwide. This means an increase of around 1m members month-on-month since July/August last year.
  • Facebook currently has in excess of 350 million active users on global basis. Six months ago, this was 250m… meaning around a 40% increase of users in less than half a year.
  • Flickr now hosts more than 4bn images. A massive jump from the previous 3.6bn I wrote about.
  • More than 35m Facebook users update their status each day. This is 5m more than towards the end of July, 2009.
  • Wikipedia currently has in excess of 14m articles, meaning that it’s 85,000 contributors have written nearly a million new posts in six months.
  • Photo uploads to Facebook have increased by more than 100%. Currently, there are around 2.5bn uploads to the site each month – this was around a billion last time I covered this.
  • There are more than 70 translations available on Facebook. Last time around, this was only 50.
  • Back in 2009, the average user had 120 friends within Facebook. This is now around 130.
  • Mobile is even bigger than before for Facebook, with more than 65m users accessing the site through mobile-based devices. In six months, this is over 100% increase. (Previously 30m). As before, it’s no secret that users who access Facebook through mobile devices are almost 50% more active than those who don’t.

Okay, so now some new stuff that’s worth considering when looking at social media marketing that I’ve not included in previous posts:

  • There are more than 3.5bn pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.) shared each week on Facebook.
  • There are now 11m LinkedIn users across Europe.
  • Towards the end of last year, the average number of tweets per day was over 27.3 million.
  • The average number of tweets per hour was around 1.3m.
  • More than 700,000 local businesses have active Pages on Facebook.
  • Purpose-built Facebook pages have created more than 5.3bn fans.
  • 15% of bloggers spend 10 or more hours each week blogging, according to Technorati’s new State of the Blogosphere.
  • At the current rate, Twitter will process almost 10bn tweets in a single year.
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the USA.
  • India is currently the fastest-growing country to use LinkedIn, with around 3m total users.
  • More than 250 Facebook applications have over a million combined users each month.
  • 70% of bloggers are organically talking about brands on their blog.
  • 38% of bloggers post brand or product reviews.
  • More than 80,000 websites have implemented Facebook Connect since December 2008 and more than 60m Facebook users engage with it across these external sites each month.

Impressive stuff, but as always, take these stats with a pinch of salt. As before, no single piece of information can be used to base an online strategy upon, or be used as a forecast as to the direction a specific social media channel may take in the future – you need to fully understand your marketing and business objectives before launching off into this apparently vast space.

[Image source: thekeithhall, via Flickr. Various rights reserved]

Learn more…

How social media changed our lives in 2009

Relax News

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

From the rise of the real-time web to mainstream society’s adoption of virtual reality applications, social media has had an enormous impact on consumers’ lives in 2009.

Emerging technology website, VatorNews, has released their top ten list of the biggest social media stories in 2009.

The featured stories include Twitter’s rise to fame in 2009 and its valuation at $1 billion dollars, Facebook’s acquisition of FriendFeed, social gaming company Playfish getting picked up by one of the largest game publishers in the gaming industry Electronic Arts (EA), citizen journalism taking on a leading role in televised and online news coverage, and the rise of Augmented Reality mobile applications.

VatorNews’s Biggest Social Media Stories of 2009:

1. Twitter valuation at $1 billion
2. Facebook buys FriendFeed
3. EA acquires Playfish for $275 million
4. Zynga worth $1 billion
5. MySpace acquires iLike for $20 million
6. MOL acquires Friendster
7. Citizen Journalism
8. The Rise of Augmented Reality
9. Google + Bing go real-time
10. US Government 2.0

For more information about VatorNews’s top ten head to

10 Ways Social Media Will Change In 2010

Written by Ravit Lichtenberg from / December 11, 2009 6:00 AM

This time last year, I wrote about the 10 ways social media will change 2009, and while all predictions have materialized or are on their way, it has only become clear in recent months how significant // of a change we’ve seen this year. 2009 will go down as the year in which the shroud of uncertainty was lifted off of social media and mainstream adoption began at the speed of light. Barack Obama’s campaign proved that social media can mobilize millions into action, and Iran’s election protests demonstrated its importance to the freedom of speech.

This guest post was written by Ravit Lichtenberg, founder and chief strategist at – a boutique consultancy focusing on helping companies succeed. Ravit authors a blog at

Today, it is impossible to separate social media from the online world. Facebook reached 350 million users last month — 70% of whom are outside the US — and it accounts for 25% of the Web’s traffic, according to Pew nearly one in five people on the web use Twitter or some other service to check status messages, and 94% of enterprises plan to maintain or increase their investment in enterprise social media tools. The social media conversation is no longer considered a Web 2.0 fad — it is taking place in homes, small businesses and corporate boardrooms, and extending its reach into the nonprofit, education and health sectors. From feeling excitement, novelty, bewilderment, and overwhelmed, a growing number of people now speak of social media as simply another channel or tactic.

So what will social Web bring next? What will “being connected” mean? What will the next experience be for the 2 two billion people who are connected to the Internet? Here are 10 ways what we’ve called social media will evolve in 2010.

Social Media Will Become a Single, Cohesive Experience Embedded In Our Activities and Technologies

By this time next year, social media will no longer be “social media” — it will be an integrated, unquestionable component of your online and offline experience. Last year we spoke of cross-platform integration across media sites. Open APIs and OpenID made that possible, and even LinkedIn announced last month that it too will finally open its APIs. 2010 will be about integration and a single, cohesive experience across platforms as well as across products and devices — Web, mobile, TV, and video — will become near-inseparable experiences.

Users will access content from any device or platform, co-create and mashup their photos, videos and text with traditional content while interacting with each other. Publishers will create new kinds of content for the connected world, and the last years’ lull in good entertainment will finally be lifted. This trend will cut across all of our activities — from playing games to shopping to emailing and texting — nothing will be lost; everything we do will be gathered and streamed together, allowing people to view their world of activities as if it were projected in front of them, open to change, review and input at any point in time from any device or online tool.

Social Media Innovation Will No Longer Be Limited By Technology

With Web technology maturing and the near-elimination of previous barriers such as closed platforms and discrete logins, companies will now look to innovate the way they use existing technology, rather than focus on technology enhancements themselves. We will see a move to leverage existing assets — content and capabilities — in new ways, turning information to wisdom and insight to action. Whereas once user research required focus groups and usability tests, companies will utilize the Web’s capabilities to achieve the same. Naturally occurring conversations will be utilized in product innovation and design, and companies will create incentives for people’s attention and engagement while repurposing and analyzing content and engagement in new ways that will deliver valuable input.

Mobile Will Take Center Stage

Worldwide, the iPhone alone accounts for about 33% of mobile web traffic and IDC predicts the number of mobile web users will hit one billion by 2010. As the technological barriers come down, people will increasingly use their phones on-the-go to access social networks, search, read content and find location-based information. Our phones will be used as a central hub and beacon — enabling a slew of new capabilities and experiences.

Expect an Intense Battle As People and Companies Look To Own Their Own Content

2009 marked the year of open Web, and divergence of content, making content available anywhere, anytime, by anyone and to everyone; it was the year content exploded across the web, platforms and devices. The issue Google solved so magically — content find-ability — will become all but moot in the coming years. Instead, content relevance and quality will become the key focus. In 2010 we will start to see convergence as companies take measures to own their own content, its location and its cost. Last month, Rupert Murdoch announced he may opt News Corp out of Google, instructing it to de-index its publications from the search engine and giving exclusive rights to Bing for a fee. This means that content publishers will be able to determine where they make their content available and at what cost.

With the growth of user generated content and the dwindling relevance of search results, people will gradually shift their trust from large aggregators like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and move to searching and finding content at specific locations and, eventually, creating and integrating their own content hub into the rest of their personal digital experience. “People don’t realize that everything they do — on Facebook, Ning, Google and with their credit cards — is being collected, tracked, analyzed, owned and monetized by these companies who provide (so-called) free services. It’s not a healthy model.” Says John Faber, COO of af83, a Drupal development house and co-founder of the upcoming DrupalCon.

Enterprises Will Shape the Next Generation of What We’ve Called “Social Media”

It was easy to forget that enterprises and large institutions are the originators of some of social media’s pillars: listservs, forums, intranets and collaboration tools. As social media became a public domain, enterprises have been cautious participants, predominantly in the product space, with few visionary leaders like Zappos, IBM and Dell. But cautionary they are no more. With a reported average of 25% increase in funds allocation toward social media activities, in 2010 we will see a surge in adoption of social media across product, services and solutions companies.

Having the need and the funds, enterprises will determine the next generation of social experiences. They will push enhancements that meet their needs, specifically around monitoring, automation, alignment with the sales cycle and integration with existing systems, expanding social “media” to encompass the ecosystem of social computing across solutions, and making them actionable for the company. Jive, blueKiwi, Remindo and Sharepoint support companies internally. Most recently, released Chatter, designed to turn the corporation, and CRM, social. With its APIs opening later this year, “Chatter can become a new layer over its Force platform, already being used by 68,000 customers, enabling companies and developers to leverage the Salesforce infrastructure in a secure environment,” said Bruce Francis, VP corporate strategy