Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Relevant is Social Networking?

An interesting article in PR Week raised the question of how relevant social networks continue to be in the US and abroad.

A Synovate study conducted globally found that social networking familiarity was higher than average among Americans than other nationalities, but that survey participants across the board are losing interest in social networking sites.

I wonder though, is it that social networkers are losing interest, or has social networking merely become a habit that users give about as much thought to as brushing their teeth every morning? My suspicion is the latter. The novelty and excitement of Myspace, Facebook and the myriad of other social networking sites may be wearing off, but the high number of hits that those sites continue to receive shows they are still going strong. Users may not be on the edge of their seat, but millions continue to log in each day.

Here are some statistics from Facebook alone:

  • More than 100 million active users
  • Facebook is the 4th most-trafficked website in the world (comScore)
  • Facebook is the most-trafficked social media site in the world (comScore)
  • No. 1 photo sharing application on the Web (comScore)
  • In a little over five months the site was released in more than 15 languages, including, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Korean.

Social networking sites are a valuable public relations tool. The PR Week article shows that public relations experts must strive to find new ways to appeal to an audience who may be tiring of the “same ol’ same ol’” on social networking sites. The most successful public relations campaigns will be those that stay fresh and ahead of the curve and utilize the ever changing features that sites like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, LinkedIn, Digg, and the others are continuously adopting.


Anonymous said...

The problem is that there are too many social network sites, many of which simply offer a variation on a theme. The result - people become blase.

The trick now is to not only use social media effectively, but to use the right ones. Additionally, YOU need to use THEM, not the other way around.

I wrote a post about standing out in the social media arena, you might find it of interest:

Correy said...

Interesting thoughts.

Social networking is becoming a HUGE interest of clients with which I work; most of which are not companies you would normally associate with the "hip" and "young" idea of social networking.

You bring up the point that social networking is becoming a "habit" - and I think that this is very true, and one of the reasons clients are so interested in these types of sites. Our client is interested in creating a page on YouTube and on MySpace to profile themselves and their business, and share videos or commercials at the click of a button - because they KNOW that people are increasingly comfortable with the format of a MySpace page, and they know what YouTube does.

Think of it this way - right now, if I want to find out more information about a particular band or artist, I Google them. The first site that comes up is their "official" site, and the next one is their MySpace page. Ninety-nine percent of the time I click their MySpace page first, because I know exactly what I'm going to get. The band can portray the same information as its "official site," but in a format I know I trust and can work with.

Someday this may even become ubiquitous in car part suppliers, construction companies...anything you can imagine.

The times, they are a'changin.

Kate Bernard said...

It's so interesting that you mention using social networking effectively. Often clients ask us whether they should be blogging or making use of social networking sites. Gina Rubel advises our clients to only use social media and social networking tools if it makes sense for them.

I think it's such an important point for businesses to keep in mind today. Effective public relations means using the best vehicle out there to deliver your message and not every business lends itself to blogging or social media.

Thank you for the comment, and the link to your blog post- I really enjoyed your post!

Amanda W. said...

Great post Katie! I think it has become very difficult to keep up with the many different sites offered today. It was one of the things I talked with Octavio Rojas about when I met with him in Madrid. The choices can be overwhelming at times. I still find myself using the sites that are most familiar to me like Twitter and Facebook. I agree with pressreleasepr by trying to utilize a few sites instead of doing a little everywhere!