The End of Social Media...Really?

I've come across posts, like this one from Geoff Livingston, discuss the death of social media. Livingston clarifies that to early adopters, social media is dying. Long gone are the days of social media as the "shiny new object" for digital trend setters to latch onto. What we're experiencing is a period of full-fledged, mainstream adoption. The point of this is social media is far from dead -- it is alive and thriving in ways I could have imagined three years ago. What evidence do we have to support social media is alive and thriving? Let's take a look at the types of activity and statistics we're seeing:

  1. Number of active UGC participants is growing – Last year, we saw Forrester Research report that " Three in four US online adults now use social tools to connect with each other compared with just 56% in 2007." Earlier this year, StrategyLabs reported a 276.4% increase in Facebook usage amongst the 35-54 year old demographic with that doubling every two months (full statistics chart available here). I don't think many of us need to look to numbers in order to believe this is true.
  2. Increase in overall activity exceeds email – During the spring, Nielsen reported that "member communities", which include social networks and blogs is growing more than three times the rate of overall Internet growth. In fact, according to this report, it even exceeds world trends in email usage, as more than 2/3 of the global population now visit social networks.
  3. Amount of money invested in social media continues to rise – Once again, Forrester Research reports that spending on social media marketing is up in a big way. According to Mashable's coverage of the report, Forrester predicts spending to hit $3.1B by 2014 based on annual rates of 34%. This is double the rate of growth for other online mediums which still show a 17% increase. Despite the recession, figures in the report also indicate 53% of marketers want to increase their budget spending over the next six months.

What do these statistics mean? A few things. Social media is clearly not just for kids anymore and has infiltrated the professional world. Social media is also no longer an opportunistic venture. Companies today should be worried about getting left behind.

Is your company investing in a social media strategy? If not, time to get started.

Cailin Darcy