New Forrester Report: Fight Social Media Stagnation

Six weeks ago, Forrester published a report some found shocking: "A Global Update Of Social Technographics®" noted that “social behaviors that require creating content have seen no substantial growth in adoption since 2009; in fact, some behaviors have experienced attrition.” After years of tracking demonstrable year-over-year growth in consumers' social behaviors, it seems the social train has ground to a halt. I created a blog post on the topic, but this didn’t seem nearly sufficient for such an important change in the most significant trend to hit marketing since the Internet went public in 1995. So today Forrester is publishing the report, “Fight Social Media Stagnation.” 

The data speaks for itself — since 2007, every category of Social Technographic behavior (other than Inactives) demonstrated constant growth each year, but in 2010 that trend changed. Why? In part because we’re now reaching a point of social media saturation. With Joiners (those who maintain a profile on a social network) currently encompassing 59% of US online adults, it is inevitable that the growth of social behaviors would slow. The social media battle for the hearts and minds of US consumers has been fought and won!

But there’s more to the plateauing 2010 Social Technographics than just an approaching point of saturation. Forrester data demonstrates a growing apprehension over privacy in social channels with a significant one-year jump in the number of older adults who are “very concerned about my privacy on social networking sites.” What this means to marketers and how they can combat this concern is the primary focus for my report, which is now available to Forrester subscribers for download.  

Are you more concerned about your privacy in social networks than a year ago? Have you seen brands taking action to earn your trust or protect your privacy? If so, please share your insights and experiences in the comments below. 

Comments

Thoughtful post. Wish I

Thoughtful post. Wish I subscribed so I could download the report. I am a marketer but I am going to try to answer your question as a Internet and social media user or consumer, because at the end of the day, that is what I am, regardless of my vocation.

The marketer in me knows that data mining has been going on for many years, and financial service companies have used various list append services to build demographic and psychographic profiles. Why anyone would think that social media wouldn't be the same surprises me.

What I wonder about are what appear to me to be two pervasive themes:

Technology and Communication -- The lack of consistency in SM platforms conveying their privacy policies in simple terms so that the user knows exactly what he or she is doing and how to adjust privacy settings to meet their needs. Telling a user that accepting an application that "requires that the application has access to all your data even when you are not using it" is not sufficient.

Sociological Issues: Human behavior doesn't change much over time. We just have access to "bigger games & tech tools" that let us know more and more information. What I observe (and granted, here is where a bit of the fact that I am also a parent comes in) is that people would benefit from a bit of "greater personal reflection" on what they share on social media platforms. I think of a tidbit I learned from my wise grandfather (who incentally invented a device that would turn off the sound on his TV before there were such things as TV remotes - alas,he didn't patent it) "If you are not comfortable putting that information on a sign on the front lawn of your house, then don't do it."

@sarahmontague