Social Networking not Ubiquitous as Hyped

Social networking has been all the rage in the last 2-3 years. Marketers have fallen over themselves trying to figure out how to have a meaningful presence on social networks. Whether it be having a MySpace or Facebook page or taking the bold step to create a social network, the aim is to listen and interact with customers as well as provide a channel for stimulating word-of-mouth brand communications. But, for all they hype and promise of social networking, it has a long way to go to become a staple of American life.

Results of a multi-nation survey conducted by Synovate found that 40% of Americans surveyed belong to a social network. This figure means the majority of consumers cannot be reached via social networks. Of course, social networking sites can reach certain audience groups (e.g., teens and young adults). Overall, social networks have not been adopted on the broad scale that computer and Internet has experienced. A more troubling finding from the Synovate study is that 36% of American social network users indicated they are tiring of using social networks. Does this mean social networking is more of a fad than a seismic shift in the way we interact?

It will be interesting to see the formation of long term behaviors with regard to social networking. Will youngsters who frequent MySpace and Facebook eventually outgrow these virtual communities? Will they move on to other types of social networking sites? Will they abandon social networks altogether? Will older Americans find social networking sites appealing and join the conversation? Time and technology will tell. The next trend in social networking is accessing via wireless devices. The cell phone could be the key to greater adoption of social networking.

Link: eMarketer Daily - "Social Networks Are Not Yet Universal"