[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Nearly two-thirds of American adults (65%) use social networking sites, up from 7% when Pew Research Center began systematically tracking social media usage in 2005[/inlinetweet].
Pew Research reports have documented in great detail how the rise of social media has affected such things as work, politics and political deliberation,communications patterns around the globe, as well as the way people get and share information about health, civic life, news consumption, communities,teenage life, parenting, dating and even people’s level of stress. The key question is why?
If you think the rise in social media usage is because people like to share you probably would be wrong. The number one social site in terms of usage is Facebook and even Facebook is alarmed that users aren’t sharing enough personal posts. People are using Facebook a lot because Facebook has become their aggregate news feeder. It’s almost like an animated RSS feed with a better user interface.
The danger of relying on one website for all your news is that they control what you read and see and you’re relying on them to give you a balanced feed when that isn’t necessarily true.
The other reason Facebook has become so popular is that Internet users today just don’t have the time to visit every site that may contain information they want. This is especially true on small mobile devices. The US still has some of the slowest wifi and mobile capability in the world. It’s easier to use one site that contains all their interests, then go to 10 sites to get updates. In this way Facebook is addictive.
Rather than taking data for data’s sake marketers need to ask “why?” and “what does this tell us about consumer behavior?”.