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Social Media: What a Difference a Year Makes

  |  May 19, 2010   |  Comments

The fall of MySpace. The rise of Twitter. Here is a look at the changes the past year has brought for social media.

What a difference a year makes. Actually, it hasn't even been a year. The video, "Social Media Revolution" was first posted on July 30, 2009 and the newest version, "Social Media Revolution Refresh," was released May 5, 2010. This refresh was necessary because so many things had changed in so little time.

In developing the refresh, we considered whether or not we should include MySpace. (Would including it make the video seem dated?) And, we replaced Bebo and Orkut logos with Renren (China) and ВКонтакте (Russia).

Who would have thought that MySpace could fall so fast? This is very striking to the world we live in today. Business cycles are at a frenetic pace. A "long run" for a company these days is over a decade (think Yahoo). A short time ago, people used to laugh at the suggestion that Google's biggest competition would not come from Bing or Yahoo, but rather it would come from Facebook, Twitter, etc. Who's laughing now? How long will Google's current run at the top last? What about Facebook or Twitter?

As it was a "refresh," some data in the first video is also included in this new one. Below are some data points that are new to this latest iteration:

  • Over 50 percent of the world's population is under the age of 30.

  • Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.

  • Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year.

  • We don't have a choice on whether we do social media; the question is how well we do it.

  • If Facebook were a country it would be the world's third largest, ahead of the U.S. and only behind China and India. Please note in the first video it was only the fourth largest.

  • Yet, QQ and Renren dominate China. Please note that in the first video some data showed QQ was larger than Facebook; this is no longer the case.

  • Eighty percent of companies use social media for recruitment; 95 percent of these use LinkedIn.

  • Ashton Kutcher and Ellen DeGeneres (combined) have more Twitter followers than the populations of Ireland, Norway, or Panama.

  • Fifty percent of the mobile Internet traffic in the U.K. is for Facebook - people update anywhere, anytime. Imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?

  • Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé - some universities have stopped distributing e-mail accounts. Instead they are distributing e-readers, iPads, and tablets.

  • While you watch the above video, 100-plus hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube.

  • Wikipedia has over 15 million articles. Studies show it's more accurate than the Encyclopedia Britannica. Seventy-eight percent of these articles are not in English.

  • Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word-of-mouth now becomes world-of-mouth.

  • If you were paid $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia, you would earn $1,712 per hour.

  • Only 18 percent of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI (define).

  • Kindle e-books outsold paper books on Christmas Day 2009.

  • Sixty million status updates happen on Facebook daily.

  • Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like Mad Men - listening first, selling second.

  • The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in five years.

  • Bonus: comScore indicates that Russia has the most engaged social media audience, with visitors spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per visitor per month - Vkontakte.ru is the number one social network.


Erik Qualman

Called a Digital Dale Carnegie, Erik Qualman is the author of best sellers Socialnomics (2009) and Digital Leader (2011). Socialnomics made the #1 Best Sellers List in seven countries and was a finalist for "Book of the Year." Fast Company Magazine lists Qualman as a Top 100 Digital Influencer. He is a frequently requested international speaker and has visited 42 countries. He produced the world's most viewed social media video series and it has been used by NASA to the National Guard.

He has been fortunate to share the stage with Julie Andrews, Al Gore, Tony Hawk, Sarah Palin, Jose Socrates (Prime Minister of Portugal), Alan Mulally, and many others. For the past 17 years Qualman has helped grow the digital capabilities of many companies including Cadillac, EarthLink, EF Education, Yahoo, Travelzoo, and AT&T. He is also an MBA Professor at the Hult International Business School. Qualman holds a BA from Michigan State University and an MBA from The University of Texas. He was Academic All-Big Ten in basketball at Michigan State University and recently gave the commencement address at the University of Texas. He lives in Boston with his wife and daughter.

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