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Posted by Sean Corcoran on August 25, 2009
by Josh Bernoff
We just published our third annual Social Technographics Profile in a document called "The Broad Reach of Social Technologies" . The author is Sean Corcoran, with help from out data expert Cynthia Pflaum. The data across North America, Europe, and Asia will be available later today.
Starting with the book "Groundswell" and continuing now for three years running, we've analyzed consumers' participation in social technologies around the world with a tool called the "Social Technographics Profile." The profile puts online people into overlapping groups based on their participation (at least once a month) in the behaviors shown in the ladder. We've kept the ladder categories consistent to allow us to make comparisons year-to-year, across ages and genders, and across geographies. This provides something that's often sorely lacking in analysis of online social phenomena: perspective.
The headline: in 2009, more than four out of five online Americans are active in either creating, participating in, or reading some form of social content at least once a month. In a bit more detail:
Looking at the data by age, we now see that participation among those under 35 is nearly universal (less than 10% Inactives) and even among those 55 and over, about two-thirds are participating. The trend is clear, soon, if you're online, you'll almost certainly be consuming social technologies.
For the first time, we are now releasing international data at the same time as this US data. A few highlights: Europeans continue to adopt these technologies more slowly than in the US, with about 40% Inactives in the countries where we do surveys. The Netherlands and Sweden have the most participation, Italy has the most Creators, and social networks are most popular in the UK. For more details see the summary of Rebecca Jennings' report on social technologies in Europe. Asian social participation is typically as high as or higher than in the US. For example South Korea, where I'm going next week, has only 9% Inactives and 48% Joiners, as a result of the popular CyWorld social network site.
The international data by country, age, and gender will be available later today. You can even put the data on your own site -- we've made it embeddable. In my travels, I've found that marketers have a variety of attitudes about social technologies, ranging from "it's obvious that they're growing" to "it's a flash in the pan". The point of data like this is to provide a real, solid, objective basis for planning and discussion that goes beyond personal experience. No matter who you market to, and in what country, you need to know what your customers are doing. These surveys can help you take that first step.