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.