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Social Networking on the Rise while Content Creation Declines?

28 Sep, 2010 McKell Naegle

Social media content creation

We’ve all heard them. The stats that tell us that Facebook now has half a billion users and Twitter is seeing more than two billion tweets per month. We all know that social networking is a huge trend right now – across the board among people of all ages. But what kind of content is motivating these stats? Do users add content regularly, or is the same content being continuously recycled?

New research from Forrester suggests that while participation in social networking is on the rise, actual content creation may not be.

Forrester’s Social Technographics Profile analyzes consumer social behaviors and trends on an annual basis. Forrester classifies social network users by type:

  • Creators
  • Conversationalists
  • Critics
  • Collectors
  • Joiners
  • Spectators
  • Inactives

In the past year, their research shows no measurable growth in the Creators category — the audience that creates social content. From the chart above we can see that in the U.S., the Creator audience has actually dipped a percentage point in the last year.

What does this tell us? It seems that when it comes to social media, the average users are more likely to take passive actions (viewing, liking and sharing content posted by others) than posting content of their own. The content that is being added is being added by the same smaller group of people the majority of the time. (Goes back to the saying 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people)

Forrester reports, “One-third of online consumers in the U.S. regularly watch user-generated videos on sites like YouTube. But only 10% of U.S. online consumers upload videos they’ve created to public sites.”

This trend is not affecting the growth of social networking – the Joiners category is seeing significant increases. Social networks aren’t hurting for users, but will they run out of engaging content? What do you think – do you see this as a problem?

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