demographics of social media

December 23, 2008

quantcast-facebook

Just finished a research project on the demographics of social media.  Which led me to the question, “What are the demographics of social media?” Funny you should ask.

Who uses social media?

  • Everybody
  • Nobody
  • Young kids

As it turns out, all 3 answers are wrong. One of my most interesting discoveries was that, although the 18 – 29 age group is still the most active sector in terms of participation in social media (according to the Technographics survey, see below),  the fastest growing demographic for Facebook is those 25 years old and older, and  sites such as Tagged.com that were originally created for teenagers have since found that it’s the over-18 crowd that predominates.

Will the old folks slack off once they’ve reconnected with all their high-school and college friends and run out of things to say?  We’ll see.

It was also  interesting to learn that Facebook has 70% higher participation from African American users than the internet audience average, but that they make up only 14% of the site’s user base (see chart above, from Quantcast.)

Here are some excellent tools and sources for demographic data on any particular website, collection of sites that you designate, or ‘social media’ as defined by a large, friendly research firm.

  • quantcast.com: type in a URL, you get a very detailed breakdown of demographics measured against the internet average.
  • www.google.com/adplanner: yields slightly less detailed demographics than quantcast, but you can create a ‘media plan’ based on a group of sites, and see  a chart of the aggregate numbers for all of them.  Conversely, you can define your target demographic and see which sites will reach them.

two really useful offerings from Forrester Research.

Advertisements

180px-essays_montaigne

When speaking with smart, hip, literate and esthetically-attuned folks such as yourself… I sometimes hear of a lingering resistance to blogs and blogging that has alot to do with the words “blog” and “blogging.”

Yes, I know that “blog” was born of “web” plus “log.”  But that doesn’t make it right.  It just makes it the ungainly child of two rather plain parents.

A brief historical digression: the 16th century French writer Michel de Montaigne created the modern essay (or Essai, as you can see in his title page above) from the French verb meaning “to try, attempt, have a go at something.” But what if instead of Essai, he had chosen to call it a Schtrumpfwaffel or Shplaff or Dreck? Maybe high school students across the world today wouldn’t be writing essays in order to get into college.  They’d be procrastinating on their shplaffs, or else inscribing magical spells on birch bark.

So, in the dubious name of progress, I’d like to propose some alternatives.  Hopefully you’ll have some even better ideas.

Yes, you.

Combining…

Yields…

Sounds Like…

web + log blog blob, slog, slob, frog, bog, slug
live + journal vejournal vegernal, something either anatomical or vegan-related, or both.
journal + vif journavi journey, bonjovi, other rock bands from the ’70s and ’80s.

GetSmartRadio

November 17, 2008

getsmartradio

Another inspiring social media phenomenon, this one with a very San Francisco flavor.  GetSmartRadio combines social media with the actual “getting together at a time and place having a shared experience” dimension of social.  They put the Live back in Feed, or the Odd back in Podcast, or something.  Very smart, fastpaced, funny, yet focused on real issues.

About a month ago I stumbled on their live event at Duboce Cafe.  They’ve since released the podcast of that show: Doing Time – Can Jail Save Society?

check it out!

bits_gore480

Al Gore was keynote speaker at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco on November 7th.  His theme was that web 2.0 has to have a purpose, and that purpose is climate change awareness.

Now it’s easy to be cynical about such a statement.  Every politician and activist believes that technology, which for the most part is value-neutral, should be harnessed to promote his or her own agenda.  And maybe it’s because I agree with Al Gore’s values that I think social media has a lot to offer their spread and advancement.  Or maybe there really is something inherent in this new medium that promotes openness, constructive change, intelligent optimism, spontaneous organization and a kind of instinct toward altruism.

I couldn’t find a transcript of Gore’s entire speech, and though the language is very unpolished, here’s a video link and my very partial transcription below it.

http://blip.tv/file/1461701


interactivity, social networking, user-generated content…. the ‘gee whiz’ factor.. we need to move past that to a time where all of that is taken for granted, just like the water the fish doesn’t know it’s swimming in.  The incredible explosion of new ways of collaborating, securing information, of introducing new levels of creativity and quality…  Web 2.0 has to have a purpose… I would urge all of you… to bring about a higher level of consciousness about our relationship to the planet and the imminent danger and opportunity that we face, because of the radical transformation of the relationship between human beings and the earth…  We have to take this issue, and raise it in the awareness of everyone.


We have to not only raise awareness, we have to empower widespread, collective action at many levels, from what students study to what consumers buy and who you vote for in between.

That’s why I happen to agree with Al Gore, and I look forward to mending the effects of our 8 year hiatus from democracy.

childrenoftheamazon

Children of the Amazon is an exquisite film, and a very personal look at a vital issue.

Clips on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/ZDFilms

Filmmaker Denise Zmekhol of Brazil recently returned to the Amazon to find some of the indigenous people whom she had met and photographed there almost 20 years before.  She documents how their lives had been altered by the construction of roads and clearcutting of the forest to make way for cattle, logging and mining, and how they gradually acquired the awareness and the organization to have a voice in these changes.

Those 15 years between her two visits are a critical time span.  Several of the tribe members she interviews refer to “tempo de floresta,” forest time, before all the changes came.  The children of the amazon whom she photographed, within their lifetime, have witnessed the destruction of their land and their way of life. As she shows them the photos she had taken of them, it turns out they had never seen photographs of themselves as children.

It’s a very personal and inspiring film: it translates the movements of peoples and continents to the scale of an individual, a family, a village.  It doesn’t sentimentalize, but it’s hard not to be affected by the story of Chico Mendes, who had organized and represented the rubber tappers in that region.

Though not indigenous, the rubber tappers depended on the Amazon forest for their livelihood, so ultimately they joined forces with the native peoples to resist the ranchers and other forces of development.  Zmekhol remembers her conversations with Chico over the years, interweaving photographs and video footage with recent interviews she conducted with his surviving family and friends.

Chico was assassinated in the intervening years, along with several other leaders of the movement to resist deforestation.  One of the young girls whom Zmekhol had photographed and hoped to meet up with again had also been killed.  She drank some poisoned juice that had been intended for her father, a chief of the Surui tribe.

Watching this movie,  I found myself wondering about all the all the indigenous peoples throughout history whose lands and lives gave way to invasion, genocide and other forms of progress, from the Aztecs and Native Americans all the way back to the Ancient Hebrews, Gauls and Celts under the Roman Empire. It’s a pattern as old and as inevitable as the progress of time.  Two thousand years ago Virgil’s Aeneid told the story of Turnus, a mythological prince who resisted the first Roman invaders.  Virgil ascribed to Turnus the noble yet misguided heroism of a man devoted to a lost cause.

I find myself thinking, or hoping, that this story might yet turn out differently than all those others,  that the children of the Amazon might actually stand a chance — because their land and way of life is as important to our survival as it is to theirs.  The film is not a polemic, and does not preach.  But biodiversity — and the role of indigenous peoples in preserving it — has gradually been recognized as essential to the continuity of human life.

Consider this : the amazon forest is home to one third of all plant and animal species on the planet, and source of about 20% of the world’s supply of oxygen.

duboce_park_cafe

I’m walking by Duboce Park cafe wanting a cup of soup, and there’s some talk going on in front of a live audience and everyone is riveted, so I go in (ducking under the camera) and order my soup (whispering) and the show is about incarceration and different viewpoints and approaches with a focus on Bay Area programs.  There’s a cop, a lawyer, and a super sharp/funny host (Deborah Pardes) actually they were all smart and informed, cared deeply about the issue, and were speaking from a real experience of the situation.

One highlight was when they’re talking about convicts doing Vipassana meditation in prison, and the cop says something like “Oh great, the victim has 300 stitches, and the perp gets to meditate.” And the lawyer manages to totally include that perspective, and adds: but if sitting 10 days in silence helps them to arrive at enough consciousness of what they did and awareness to NEVER do something like that again, isn’t that the point of jail in the first place?

To learn more listen to their podcast!!!  but I just want to say how utterly cool it is that they do this in a neighborhood cafe with a live (and sometimes serendipitous) audience. Sure the The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are smart, and pretty cool, and have some high production values.  But what are the chances that you can stumble onto the set while in search of a cup of soup?

Next time, I’m going to try to actually show up on the set of this show on purpose.  Yeah!