Social Media – Business Statistics and Trend Charts

Is There Social Network Overload? Yes, and No…

Social Media - Business Statistics and Trend Charts

Image courtesy of [KROMKRATHOG] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Days after the major social networks reported earnings and membership numbers, the media began wondering whether social network overload is starting to set in. To some degree, it is. But it’s nothing to worry about: this is a story we’ve seen plenty of times before.

With any new technology, there is initially a lot of hype. Everyone wants to play with the shiny new toy and show it off to friends. As an increasing number of people get pulled in, the media catches on and publishes a volley of sensational articles about the new technology: “Will it kill all the old ways of doing business? Is this the future of everything?”

But eventually, reality sets in. We enter a trough of disillusionment, where the technology doesn’t live up to the impossible expectations we set for it.

When people first got telephones, they would always answer when it rang. The technology ruled them instead of the other way around. Ten years ago, the same thing happened with BlackBerrys. Many of us were (maybe still are) guilty of immediately checking our messages whenever the BlackBerry buzzed. Today, we are at least trying to hold off and check on our own terms. The same is becoming true for social media.

Where We Are Today: The Plateau of Productivity

As the novelty effect wears off and the media moves onto the next buzzy story, evolving technologies enter a new phase where it either dies off (like MySpace or Second Life), or its long-term value begins to emerge.

Over time, people will stop being on social for social’s sake (this is already happening, hence the doomsday articles). Rather, we’ll use social to meet specific needs for which it is best suited, and as we are already seeing, different social sites will emerge to serve different purposes.

If we’re looking for a restaurant in the area, we’ll open up Yelp. If we’re wondering about what’s happening in the world at any given moment, we’ll check Twitter. If we’re looking for a new job or working on business development, we’ll turn to LinkedIn.

An Evolving Space

By the same token, social networking is very clearly still a growing and evolving space. Every year (sometimes it seems every month) we see a new network appearing suddenly with a completely different take on connecting people. With LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter already laying claim to the broad purposes of connecting people professionally, personally, and with information (respectively), newer social networks have cropped up to allow for more nuanced purposes.

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