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Online content sharing – far from tipping point…

Once in a while, I still mange to across people that think the web is just a bunch of web sites like it was in the 90’s. When I show them effective use of a blog, RSS feed, or social media network of some sort, they gaze in disbelief and wonder where they’ve been the last few years. While these kind of occurrences rarely happen with people I interact with on a daily basis. It’s hard to be unbiased in my line of work and very easy to make false assumptions about what is prevalent out in society – what has and has not been fully adopted in terms of things we preach. This is why I rely so much on statistical analysis and marketing research.

Rather than preaching all the benefits of social media, I often indulge clients with the most recent stats – hard numbers and best practices they can show senior management.

I came across this study the other day, which deals with the issue of social media/content sharing adoption on the Internet. I’m curious to know, where do you fit in? Read below…

“Avenue A/Razorfish, a digital agency owned by Microsoft, surveyed 475 U.S. Internet users across all demographics in July. The study targeted “connected consumers,” those that have broadband access and spend over $200 on e-commerce purchases per year (such consumers represent about half of the overall population).

The study found that some of the most recent advances in content sharing have uneven adoption. For example, just 17 percent said they had shared bookmarks through services like the Yahoo!-owned Delicious. Even more mainstream activities such as photo sharing didn’t resonate: 59 percent said they never used sites like Flickr. A majority had never uploaded a video. About 65 percent said they never used tag clouds.

More mature Web 2.0 technologies have higher adoption: 85 percent used “most e-mailed/most popular stories” links, 60 percent personalized their home pages and nearly the same amount subscribed to RSS feeds. Blogs are regular fare: 61 percent read them on at least a weekly basis.” Read the full article here…

So there you have it, RSS and Blogs have fully hit the mainstream, while tag clouds, video content sharing, and certain aspects of social bookmarking are still far from being widely used. It makes me wonder however, whether terminology can skew the results. For example, I have many friends who have no idea what an RSS feed is, but use them all the time without knowing it (on their Google homepage for example). Others may claim to have never used a blog and yet they write on their Facebook wall everyday. Naturally the same applies for tag clouds and helping to build folksonomies. Are we getting too lost in the terminology? Personally, I think that many people couldn’t care less about the widget name or social implications of the technology they are using; they just do it.

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