ETC@USC: Social Media, Coming Into its Own - Bryan Gonzalez
Published: July 4, 2011 at 02:00 PM GMT
|Bryan Gonzalez -- Click on the photo to read ETC@USC's archives.|
Last Updated: July 1, 2011 at 02:00 PM GMT
By Bryan Gonzalez
According to a study by Edicon Research, 51% of Americans over the age of 12 are on Facebook. Does this mean that social networks should still be considered just a fad? We've reached the point where social networking is accepted as a legitimate platform that people use to connect with one another. Methods for connecting people have evolved from hand written messages, to the telephone, to email and even texting. These have all been technological steps allowing people to reach each other in an instant.
Social media represents the next evolution in connecting people, moving beyond the simple message, allowing people to connect on a more personal and present way. Moving beyond the one-to-one message, social media allows people to share and learn from their circle of friends with little effort. The evolution of communication in our personal lives greatly influences how we see the world around us.
Many of us first learned about the earthquake in Japan or the death of Osama Bin Laden, not through traditional news channels, but through a friend's Facebook wall post or Tweet. This shift in how we discover new information has a profound impact on how we consume everything from news, to entertainment, to physical products.
The real strength of social media lies in discovery and influence. A person's close social circle behaves as a filter that presents them with the best news, content, and ideas. Entertainment is a great example of what will thrive in the future social media landscape. ShareThis, a company that created a web plugin that allows for easy sharing, says that 65% of Facebook shared content is entertainment related. The water-cooler conversation about TV shows and movies has moved to the online world, inviting a large group of people to participate in the dialogue.
Software developers are hard at work exploring the best way to leverage the social media conversations and turn them into entertainment opportunities. By using the trust people have with their social media circle, an entertainment experience can be enhanced by allowing a person's social network to participate. A friend's recommendation of an obscure movie will travel faster and have more weight than a critic's review that may or may not have been read.
Influence generated through social media has become a valuable tool to combat the noise on the web. But, how do you trust anything or anyone on the web? At the Entertainment Technology Center, we are constantly polling college students about how they use social media. The one constant we have observed is the increased value students place on the people from whom they accept friend requests. The days of people accepting a friend request from a stranger, or even a passing acquaintance are quickly vanishing. Changing attitudes towards who you let into your online social circle have increased the value derived from the opinions of online friends.
There is a bright future ahead for social media. Our social media experiences may not always take place on Facebook or Twitter, but social media will evolve, letting people share beyond a status update. Social media has and will continue to be interwoven into our daily lives, helping us discover new things about our friends, families and ourselves.
Bryan Gonzalez is the director of the social entertainment lab at the Entertainment Technology Center @ USC (ETC@USC). Bryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read all Bryan's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at ETC @ USC.
Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.com
Follow our Twitter updates @MediaBizBlogger
MediaBizBloggers is an open-thought leadership blog platform for media, marketing and advertising professionals, companies and organizations. To contribute, contact Jack@mediadvisorygroup.com. The opinions expressed in MediaBizBloggers.com are not those of Media Advisory Group, its employees or other MediaBizBloggers.com contributors. Media Advisory Group accepts no responsibility for the views of MediaBizBloggers authors.
To communicate with or to be contacted by the executives and/or companies mentioned in this column, link to JackMyers Connection Hotline.