Is Social Content Creation on the Decline?

Columbia University's Brad Jobling Provides His Thoughts On A Social Media Report From Forrester

Last week, Forrester Research issued a report titled, “A Global Update Of Social Technographics,” which said that consumers continue to sign up for and interact on social networking sites, but other social behaviors that require creating content have seen no substantial growth in adoption since 2009.

Following this news, I’ve seen headlines such as Social Networking Users are Creating Less Content from ReadWriteWeb, which implies a concern that this decrease of social media content creation could be an initial sputtering of the social media engine. Yet, is this really a bad thing? A few questions and comments come to mind.

1. The “Creators” decreased by 1 percent, but in real numbers they’ve increased, right? If the entire pie is bigger, then 23 percent this year is still more than 24 percent from last year?

2. Were the first Creators the “early adopters” who are most likely to be Creators in the first place?

3. Forrester added the “Conversationalist” category to the Social Technographics Profile earlier this year. This category includes almost 1/3 of the social media audience. Would this “conversation” have been considered content creation in the 2009 measurements thereby actually increasing to the 31 percent?

4. What percentage of the population have been Creators in the past? Previous Creators would be those journalists, those who write letters to the editor, shoot films, or keep diaries. Was this greater than the 23 or 24 percent of the population?

5. Lastly, if mobile is growing and more people access the Internet from their phones, wouldn’t these on-the-go periods of social media use actually be more observant in nature? You can create some great content from a phone, but it wouldn’t be a blog article similar to this one.

I don’t purport to know more than a Forrester analyst or have access to the troves of data which Forrester owns, but I’m wondering if this is a sensationalist headline or something truly of concern? Furthermore, if we create social media content for ourselves or our companies, would a decrease in creators be a negative?  How many of your peers do you value as thought leaders or artists who can create valuable content? I would love to hear your opinions and thoughts on this topic.

Brad Jobling manages a a variety of social media sites for Columbia University’s Department of Surgery under the auspices of Dr. Mehmet Oz. Before working for Columbia, Brad was a student at the Columbia Business School where he earned his MBA. Recaps of New York City social media events can be found on his blog Curiously Social. If you would like to respond or reply to Brad, he can be found on Twitter via @bradjobling.

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7 comments on “Is Social Content Creation on the Decline?

  1. Definitely, we can assume that there are fewer content creators, creativity is a complicated exercise. And every time that more people join social networks, more competition for your proposed content, so the effort is growing every day. Not forgetting that you create content supported video, photos, etc..

    Cell phones are a great opportunity for content creation and content links, twitter surely be the most effective in this work.

    • Of course social media and the interactive web makes creativity easier. You don’t need sophisticated printing presses, video cameras, etc. It’s hard t tell just from this one blip in the measurement what this really means. I think it’s great to think about these things just to stoke thoughts and conversation. That’s what this is all about right?

  2. Pingback: Is Social Content Creation on the Decline?

    • From anecdotal evidence, I also think that traditional blogging is on the decline. It takes more time and thought to write a long-form piece. Yet, since serious writers stick with blogs it could change opinions where they are accepted by a larger audience as an authentic form of journalism. I am also wondering if all of these changes are part of the Forrester Hype Cycle and social media is going mainstream. Check out http://techcrunch.com/2008/08/18/where-are-we-in-the-hype-cycle/ and note where social computing is located This graph was published in 2008. Have we moved along the curve?

  3. 95% of the flood of easily generated SM content isn’t worth reading, and 4% of the remaining 5% of quality content gets lost in the deluge. It’s only a matter of time before the landscape is so saturated that anyone with a modicum of discernment gets the message.

    • With the economics of Web publishing, it becomes cheaper and economically possible for more publishers to cater to a smaller niche audience, hence more content. If you have a Twitter infatuation with someone, you really ARE interested in what they ate for breakfast. Yet, that won’t be everyone. Unless it is Pamela Anderson, but she’s a professional!

      Out of all the e-commerce start-ups only a few, like Amazon have survived. There will always be a place for professionally produced and amateur-produced content. I think the professional will have the largest audience. More content from few sources, means less creators? Let’s see what happens.

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