drink the sweet feeling of the colour zero

On the relevance of Social Media.

Tags: , , , ,

This post is in response to comments made on The Register regarding one of my recent articles.  I’ve had to post it here as the character limit on The Register is 2000.

While yes, the opinions expressed in my Sysadmin Blog on The Register are my own, I would be willing to make the statement that on the topic in question (the rise of Social Media) they are indeed quite informed.

First: let’s admit that there does not exist primary science that conclusively and definitively pegs the exact % of our population for whom $social_media_site has become “the lens through which they view all content on the internet.”  I would go so far as to say that this is A) an impossibility and B) functionally irrelevant.  The % will be under constant flux as the habits of individuals (and groups) change.

But there are a number of studies that have been conducted so far that hint at this, and the reality of it is considered “common knowledge” amongst a certain brand of IPM nerd. The proof will out when the science is done, but studies to really refine the error bars around the exact % of users for whom this is true are only now getting underway.

One person you could talk to about this is Scott Galloway, professor at NYU School of Business. He is considered one of the more notable “digital strategy” experts. Consider also the numerous studies being done showing how little email is being used by “da yoof,” with Facebook rapidly slotting into the role that email once filled. (Many argue that Twitter is slotting into the role that Google once filled.)

Dr. Michael Fenichel – amongst many, many others – has done a great deal of hard, primary research into Facebook/Social Media/Internet usage.  Indeed, their research has convinced them that Facebook/Internet Addiction Disorder is a very real phenomenon, and should be added to the DSM V.

Beyond that, there are numerous industry studies that have noted – and then explored in depth – the reality of “$social_media_site has become the internet for X segment of the population.”  These are studies performed not by organisations who would benefit from Facbook/Twitter/etc. becoming a vehicle for advertising, but rather by organisations who have a driving need to know exactly how people shop, how they do product research and what influences their decisions.

Starting in 2007 we have a report from private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson and PQ Media.  They note that for the first time in decades, 2007 saw people spend less time on traditional media and more time on the internet.  The study also noted a huge uptick in advertiser spending online as well as consumer online purchasing.  They predicted that by 2011, the Internet would be the largest advertising medium.

They were right.

In the intervening years, hundreds of studies have been run on the topic.  In 2009, we have a study from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (via BIGresearch).  They concluded – amongst other things – that moms (women with children younger than 18) spend way more time on social media than anyone else.  They also use social media for product research, trusting peer opinion above all other review methodologies.

Pew research in 2010 concluded that 58% of all Americans have done research for products online, numbers that start to get a lot larger as you adjust to look at the critical 18-32 age bracket.  While there was no social media component to this study, the thing that got everyone’s attention was the fact that internet users in higher-income brackets do significantly more online research than those in lower income brackets.

In September 2011, Nielsen released a report saying that social media (in which they include blogs) account for nearly 25% of all time spent online.  That’s more than double the amount of time spent in online games.  3/4 of all internet users participate in social media.

Critically, 60% of people with “three or more digital means of research for product purchases” discovered retailers or brands from a social networking site.  According to the same study, Americans spend significantly more time on Facebook – 53.5% – than any other site.

Again, these are merelly sample studies I am discussing.  There are hundreds of studies – and a lot of primary science – that cover this area of discussion.  These should give you some starting points.  An idea of how modern marketing folk got to the belief that social media is in fact an important outlet for brand recognition and advertising in today’s world.

Suffice it to say that the most critical demographic – 18 to 32 year olds – are strongly influenced by social media.  So much so that they skew the statistics for “all internet users” towards the realm of “depressing amounts of time spent on Facebook.”

That “the internet” is for some – indeed for an increasing number – Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or so forth is not merely “my opinion.” It is the considered opinion of several experts in the area; I have merely taken notice. More importantly; this trend is increasing.

These social media websites are now the lens through which an ever increasing % of our population absorb their daily dose of internets.

Tweetwipe

Tags: , ,

I have had the opportunity to play around with Tweetwipe.  It’s an interesting webapp with a sole purpose: to delete all the tweets in your Twitter account.  It – more or less – does what it says on the tin.  There are a few caveats; some by design, some beyond the control of the tool’s developer.

The first caveat is that Tweetwipe does not delete any of your retweets.  Personally, I think that’s a decent feature, but not everyone will agree.  A tickbox for “nuke the retweets too” would be useful.

The other caveat is that it simply is not going to work all in one go.  If you have more than a handful of tweets, the Twitter API will blow up somewhere.  Refreshing the page and restarting the process does work.

This second caveat is interesting.  It allows for a weird method to map out the load demands placed upon twitter.  Some passes would delete 150+ tweets after leaving the tool open for an hour, some passes would delete less than 4.

A bizarre item that I discovered is that Tweetwipe will delete far more tweets/hour if you occasionally refresh Twitlan’s delete tool.  The only explanation I can come up with is that since the Twitlan delete tool creates a list of as many tweets as you specify, it must cause twitter to cache all your tweets.  This makes them available to Tweetwipe within whatever bizarre timeout limits are hindering its use of the Twitter API.

Overall, it took me about 48 hours to delete ~2000 tweets.  That is onerous, and I find the entire concept interesting.  What of those who – today – are in their early teens?  Making public fools of themselves for potentially years, and then later reaching an age where they would like to erase their past digital transgressions as they prepare for the job market.

Already, there have been numerous instances of people being fired – or even sued – because of what they have posted on social media.  That it should be so difficult to “unpost” things in bulk – for whatever reason – has interesting long term social implications.

© 2009 drink the sweet feeling of the colour zero. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by the Wordpress platform and beach rentals.