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Into the Mainstream

By - June 19, 2008

From MediaPost:

Text messaging, blogging and social networking have reached critical mass, with more than half of adults now relying on at least one of these so-called Web 2.0 platforms for communicating with friends, family, or colleagues on a regular basis, finds the latest installment of an ongoing tracking study from Interpublic’s Universal McCann unit. The research, which comes from UM’s ambitious “Media in Mind” study, one of the first to show that things like blogging were becoming a meaningful personal communications platform several years ago, now finds that among digital media’s bleeding edge – adults 18-34 – social media now is the dominant form of personal communication media, with 85% of this influential demographic group relying on one or more Web 2.0 platforms to stay in touch with others.

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7 thoughts on “Into the Mainstream

  1. Jim Vernon says:

    It’s not clear how well-defined some of these terms are. Does text messaging including instant messaging and/or “chat” via a web browser? How does text break down between phone and web browser? What about a web-enabled phone — where does that fit? And what counts as social networking? This comment? Hey, I’m tryin’ to be social here!

    I guess blogging might be the most “clear”, although someone asked me several years ago if my web site (which I had established for about 5 years before that) was a blog, and I had trouble answering. I’d have less trouble answering today, because I have both a “portal” site and a “blog” site.

    Web 2.0? Gettin’ a little tired of that buzzword. But, ok, I get it. I guess. Enough to answer a questionnaire, anyway!

    Lastly, I found the end of the article hilarious: “Needless to say, UM found a skyrocketing correlation among people who say they regularly visit social networking sites.”

    Correlation … with what? You don’t find a correlation among people. You find a correlation between two measurable characteristics (more properly, between the measures or random variables).

  2. PR Ny says:

    So essentially – among young males – this medium is replacing the telephone call or sending postcards or holiday greeting cards.

    Women appear to still prefer that personal touch

  3. tom funk says:

    This seems to echo the Zogby poll last fall that reported that “24% of Americans said the Internet could serve as a replacement for a significant other.”

    Given the way the poll question was posed, it was never clear whether people meant the web itself was serving as a significant other — or whether they were really thinking about personal communication with real people that just happens to occur across the web.

    To me, John’s blurb from Mediapost suggests it’s the latter (which is at least a little healthier, right?).

    Then again, remembering last summer’s WSJ piece on the guy’s real-life marriage crumbling while his SecondLife marriage was going hot-n-heavy, there are today probably a lot of definitions to what it means to use the social media and web-messaging to communicate with “friends and family.” :)

    http://463.blogs.com/the_463/2007/10/hi-there-im-the.html
    http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB118670164592393622.html

  4. nmw says:

    Interesting: Also at mediapost is my explanation for why this phenomenon has occurred: http://my.mediapost.com/groups/discussion/id/134

    A big part of the reason is that no one has managed to fix email to be reliable enough — and this is something I mentioned 3 or 4 years ago at a domain conference in Seattle. Since no one has been able to fix the problems with email (I think Esther Dyson’s proposals are among the best — namely: for the recipient of email to be reimbursed for accepting the email), communication is “safer” when it is social in nature (kind of like talking on a public square rather than in a private room).

    Incidentally, I find the mediapost platform to be very well designed, but I find that the level of two-way (conversational) “participation” there is quite low (or maybe I just haven’t found it yet). Of course “peace and quiet” is sometimes “just what the doctor ordered”….

    :) nmw

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