Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Social Media reaching a Trough of Disillusionment?

This morning my colleague shared an interesting link from Forrester that highlights some interesting insights on Social Media trends. Forrester has actually categorized the type of users who participate in social media and tracks the quantitative growth in each category. According to the report, the startling fact is that many groups in US has reached plateau, especially the Creator Group. The Creator Group is at the top of ladder who actively contributes content to the network in terms of blog posts, videos, articles, etc. At the end of the latter is the passive Group who are Inactive/Spectators.

While the number of people who join the network is increasing year-on-year, they don’t really move up in the ladder. And the number of users who are already in the top is not rising. And this observation is only applicable to US, while the Asia-Pacific continues to report growth in most of the groups.

Forrester concludes that the initial wave of social media has actually halted in US and there needs to be conscious effort in place to bring more people past early adapters.
Am glad that Forrester has reported something counter-intuitive / counter to the market hype. The hype is so much that every product vendor talks, eats and breathes social media in every other forum. I have always felt that industry has been giving undue attention to the Social media paradigm.

My perception is that online social media becomes much more powerful its complimented with offline action. In a nutshell, web 2.0 plays a vital role in maximizing choices for the participant. The increased choices influence the open markets. Maybe, the current market place is saturated or commoditized that everybody talks and sells the same thing and no new products/services to be exchanged. Once we get past Cloud and SaaS cycles, we may see new wave of creative activity.

In Enterprise 2.0, the scenario is little different. The network exists, collaboration happens – but it happens at much more tactical sense and the social network influences choices in micro issues. The reason being that macro choices are governed by the organization structure and decision framework. Here again, the online exchange needs to be complimented with offline action within the enterprise.

I don’t think the social media trend is going to saturate anytime soon. At the sametime, if we want to see some dramatic results, there needs to be lot of reinforcement on the past success and creative new content!

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