Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
April 4, 2009 1:37 PM

Online Social Networking Is Good, Clean Fun

Online social networking is not just good in terms of connecting and growing your personal network and business. It's also becoming a great form of entertainment.

There was more great news out of Marketing Charts yesterday with the news item, Social Networking Grows 93%; Communication Becomes Entertainment:

"Social networking among US broadband users has grown an impressive 93% since 2006, and has increased the amount of time people spend communicating online 18%, to 32% of total online time, according to a new report from Netpop Research, LLC that delves into social networking trends and habits. The 'Netpop Connect: Social Networkers US' report also reveals that at the same time as online communications has increased, the time spent on traditional forms of online entertainment has declined 29%, and is now down to 19% of total online time: This, Netpop said, is changing the face of how entertainment is defined, and giving rise to a new form of leisure built around talking, sharing, and providing opinions and perspectives."

Diving beyond the stats, this is another fascinating tell as to where the world of entertainment is headed. Instead of sitting mindlessly drooling in front of the television, people now see connecting, creating content and communicating with one another in non-traditional forms as a type of entertainment.

The report also illustrates that even within the new media channels and platforms, people are doing much more than one thing...

"The research estimates that 105 million American broadband users (76%) now contribute to social media... Moreover, though many types of social media are used by less than 10% of broadband users, seven million users are 'heavy' social media contributors, who do at least six activities - such as blogging, microblogging, social networking and photo/video sharing - and connect with 248 people on a one-to-many basis in a typical week. This small but powerful proportion of social media contributors are fuelling Web 2.0 activity, Netpop said."

This is good news for brands who think they may be too late to the party to start engaging in some of the more social media channels online.

While that seven million figure is significant, it is just the beginning if you take into account the 1.5 billion people online. As Social Media matures, it is interesting to see it (or think of it) as a new form entertainment for people. Be it simply adding friends and uploading photos, or Blogging and creating and posting videos. Media entertainment is no longer about viewers, but active participants.

Thinking about how brands, companies and services can be better integrated here as people use these channels and platforms for both communications and entertainment might just be one of the more interesting avenues for companies to start strategizing about and exploring.

By Mitch Joel