Many thanks to Andrew Mitchell of UM for highlighting that this wonderful report is available from http://www.umww.com/wave5. I have commented on previous waves and this year’s is bigger and better than ever.
I won’t steal too much of their thunder, they deserve to get the visitors, but the report makes one over-arching point very clearly. Social media is currently becoming social networks, at the expense of other forms of social media (read the chart on page 25, think about it, interpret it, then look at page 27 and you will see what I mean).
I have been saying for a while that the reason photo sharing sites and blogs have had less impact than I thought they would is because of social networks. Social networks (in the UK that means Facebook) are less fuss, more fun, and reach more of the people you want to reach.
Over the last year I have been reading quite a bit of the academic literature about computer mediated communications (doesn’t that sound like a quaint way of talking about what has become the Internet). What comes through very clearly is that online activities that tend to connect you with people you know tend to be beneficial for you, popular, and successful. Online activities that tend to connect you with strangers tend to have less good outcomes and they tend not to have longevity.
If you read nothing else this month I would recommend reading the Wave 5 report from UM – I shall be using their data heavily for the next few months.