Social class might determine your online social network.

(CNN) — Like a lot of people, Anna Owens began using MySpace more than four years ago to keep in touch with friends who weren’t in college.

Our real-world friendships are often a reflection of who we connect with online, experts say.

Our real-world friendships are often a reflection of who we connect with online, experts say.

But soon she felt too old for the social-networking site, and the customizable pages with music that were fun at first began to annoy her. By the time she graduated from the University of Puget Sound, Owens’ classmates weren’t on MySpace — they were on Facebook.

Throughout graduate school and beyond, as her network began to expand, Owens ceased using MySpace altogether. Facebook had come to represent the whole of her social and professional universe.

“MySpace has one population, Facebook has another,” said the 26-year-old, who works for an affordable-housing nonprofit in San Francisco, California. “Blue-collar, part-time workers might like the appeal of MySpace more — it definitely depends on who you meet and what they use; that’s what motivates people to join and stay interested.”

Is there a class divide online? Research suggests yes. A recent study by market research firm Nielsen Claritas found that people in more affluent demographics are 25 percent more likely to be found friending on Facebook, while the less affluent are 37 percent more likely to connect on MySpace.

More specifically, almost 23 percent of Facebook users earn more than $100,000 a year, compared to slightly more than 16 percent of MySpace users. On the other end of the spectrum, 37 percent of MySpace members earn less than $50,000 annually, compared with about 28 percent of Facebook users.

Social networking by the numbers

Users with household income above $75,000
Facebook — 41.74 percent
MySpace — 32.38 percent
LinkedIn — 58.35 percent
Twitter — 43.34 percent

Users with household income under $50,000
Facebook — 28.42 percent
MySpace — 37.13 percent
LinkedIn — 17.34 percent
Twitter — 28.36 percent

Female users
Facebook — 56.33 percent
MySpace — 56.69 percent
LinkedIn — 48.11percent
Twitter — 53.59 percent

Users aged 18 to 24
Facebook — 10.27 percent
MySpace — 15.46 percent
LinkedIn — 3.99 percent
Twitter — 9.51percent

Users aged 35 to 49
Facebook — 31.54 percent
MySpace — 29.09 percent
LinkedIn — 43.64 percent
Twitter — 34.02 percent

Source: The Nielsen Co.

MySpace users tend to be “in middle-class, blue-collar neighborhoods,” said Mike Mancini, vice president of data product management for Nielsen, which used an online panel of more than 200,000 social media users in the United States in August. “They’re on their way up, or perhaps not college educated.”

By contrast, Mancini said, “Facebook [use] goes off the charts in the upscale suburbs,” driven by a demographic that for Nielsen is represented by white or Asian married couples between the ages of 45-64 with kids and high levels of education.

Even more affluent are users of Twitter, the microblogging site, and LinkedIn, a networking site geared to white-collar professionals. Almost 38 percent of LinkedIn users earn more than $100,000 a year.

Nielsen also found a strong overlap between those who use Facebook and those who use LinkedIn, Mancini said.

Nielsen isn’t the first to find this trend. Ethnographer danah boyd, who does not capitalize her name, said she watched the class divide emerge while conducting research of American teens’ use of social networks in 2006.

When she began, she noticed the high school students all used MySpace, but by the end of the school year, they were switching to Facebook.

When boyd asked why, the students replied with reasons similar to Owens: “the features were better; MySpace is dangerous and Facebook is safe; my friends are here,” boyd recalled.

And then, boyd said, “a young woman, living in a small historical town in Massachussetts said to me, ‘I don’t mean to be a racist or anything, but MySpace is like, ghetto.'” For boyd, that’s when it clicked.

“It’s not a matter of choice between Facebook and MySpace, it was a movement to Facebook from MySpace,” she said, a movement that largely included the educated and the upper-class.

So why do our online worlds, unencumbered by what separates us in daily life, reflect humans’ tendency to stick with what — and who — they know?

A lot of it has to do with the disparate beginnings of MySpace and Facebook, said Adam Ostrow, editor-in-chief of Mashable, a blog about social media. Facebook originated at Harvard University and was limited at first to students at approved colleges before opening itself to the public in September 2006.

MySpace, on the other hand, had a “come one, come all” policy and made a mad dash towards monetization, Ostrow said. “They used a lot of banner ads without regard to the quality, and it really diminished the value [of the site] for the more tech-savvy demographic.”

And while the Internet can build bridges between people on opposite sides of the globe, we still tend to connect with the same people through online social networks who we connect with offline, said technology writer and blogger Sarah Perez.

“It’s effectively a mirror to our real world,” she told CNN. “Social networks are the online version of what kids do after school.”

These social-networking divides are worrisome to boyd, who wrote “Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics.” Instead of allowing us to cross the boundaries that exist in our everyday lives, these online class differences threaten to carry those boundaries into the future.

“The social-network infrastructure is going to be a part of everything going forward, just like [Web] search is,” boyd said. “The Internet is not this great equalizer that rids us of the problems of the physical world — the Internet mirrors and magnifies them. The divisions that we have in everyday life are going to manifest themselves online.”

Jason Kaufman, a research science fellow with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, examined the Facebook profiles of a group of college students over four years and found that even within Facebook, there’s evidence of self-segregation.

Multiracial students tended to have more Facebook friends than students of other backgrounds and were often the sole connection between white and black circles, Kaufman said.

Nonetheless, Kaufman feels that social networks may one day help us overcome our instinct to associate with those who share our income level, education, or racial background.

“I think it’s fair to say that the Web has great potential to at least mitigate everyday tendencies towards self-segregation and social exclusion,” Kaufman said. “In some ways, [Facebook] levels the playing field of friendship stratification. In the real world, you have very close friends and then there are those you just say “Hi” to when you pass them on the street.

“The playing field is a lot more level in that you can find yourself having a wall-to-wall exchange with just an acquaintance. If you pick up the unlikely friend, not of your race or income bracket, the network may [help you] establish a more active friendship than if you met them in real life.”

But MySpace’s users still find something appealing about MySpace that they don’t about Facebook, and it may have nothing to do with class or race, blogger Perez said.

“It’s not just the demographics that have people picking one over the other,” Perez said. “It also comes down to what activities you like. If you like music, you’ll still be on MySpace. If you’re more into applications, then you might go to Facebook because you’re addicted to Mafia Wars or whatever.”

In the end, boyd isn’t as concerned about the reasons behind these divisions online as she is about the consequences of people only networking within their chosen social-media groups.

“Friendships and family relationships are socially divided; people self-segregate to deal with racism sometimes,” she said. “Okay, fine: We’ve made a decision to self-segregate, but what happens when politicians go on Facebook and think they’re reaching the whole public? What happens when colleges only go on Facebook to promote?”

When and if that does happen, Mashable’s Ostrow said, we’ll know perhaps we’ve given social networks more credit than they’re worth. “When it comes to information, I don’t think social networks are the best source for that. The Internet is so open,” said Ostrow, who believes users would go beyond their networks to search out information online.

If you’re looking to branch out of your social network box, your best option may be Twitter. Nielsen’s survey didn’t find a dominant social class on Twitter as much as they found a geographical one: Those who use Twitter are more likely to live in an urban area where there’s greater access to wireless network coverage, Mancini said.

“The simplicity of Twitter definitely creates less of a divide, because it’s not a relationship like it is on MySpace or Facebook,” Ostrow said. “If you live in the middle of nowhere or you live in a city, you can follow anyone about anything.”

And you thought all you had to do was create a Twitter and Facebook account?

Do You Have The Chops To Be A Social Engagement Director?

I was recently contacted by a recruiter who sent me the following job description.

The Social Engagement Director will be accountable for developing and leading community and social networking initiatives for all Business Units. This includes:

  • Building strategies and programs that are designed to help the BUs build greater customer engagement. The Social Engagement will represent the BUs social commerce needs within the Online Business Unit, structuring programs internally, and externally via the community, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Youtube and the wider blogosphere.
  • Along with managing BU initiatives, the Social Engagement Manager will also help ensure that all social programs are coordinated and structured to deliver maximum benefit to the enterprise.

Specific responsibilities that will fall under the Social Engagement Managers’ areas of responsibility.
• Lead initiatives to develop specific social programs that align with BU business objectives
• Evaluate initiatives and provide strategies and support to the BUs
• Work with Marketing and paid media to ensure alignment and to coordinate seasonal and special promotions
• Establish and track measures to ensure business objectives are met and adequate returns can be verified; determine which programs are working and which aren’t.
• Proved day to day support for the BUs to ensure that they are building dialog with customers that drive engagement and loyalty including content development and promotions


  • Build social media programs for BUs.
  • Work with BU teams to ensure that they are engaged directly with customers
  • Structure social media programs: BU blogs, forums and ask and answer programs
  • Ensure that Customer Service and Home Services are engaged in answering customer issues or questions for BUs
  • Deliver customer insights on behalf of the BUs through surveys, polls and other forms of feedback
  • Consult on improvements and ensure customer insights are synthesized and operationalized within the BU
  • Guide constructive conversation and debate
  • Escalate member/customer problems and gain swift resolution
  • Respond to all customer service inquiries that Vendor can not resolve externally
  • Respond to member concerns/ inquiries presented online and within the community and triage issues to drive resolution through the appropriate internal customer service channels
  • Promotions. Work internally to help develop offers/incentives and viral programs that can be shared within the community or on other social sites like Facebook or Twitter etc..
  • Team with Marketing and vendors to administer the back-end of promotional programs
  • Recognition
  • Oversee the simple thanks program or other rewards/loyalty programs
  • Team with Vendor to administer the reputation system
  • Establish acquisition, activation and engagement targets
  • Complete weekly reporting on acquisition and activation trends
  • Work to report monthly on social activity and trends
  • Work to develop viral marketing plan and maintain presence on social networks including: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and others


  • Customer Service Oriented
  • Outgoing
  • Excellent follow-up and organizational skills
  • Knowledge and use of social networks and platforms
  • Understanding of  customer profile

So… do you think you are up to the task? If so, I’ll send you the link. 🙂

10 Killer Social Media and Web 2.0 Links

What people say about a brand or a company is equal, if not superior, to what the brand or company says about itself.-Me

I told you I was tapped out creatively on Twitter, but here are the 10 links I promised you.




Blue Fuego

Slick Plan

Peer Set

The 8 Irresistible Principles of Fun

Top 10 Social Media Presentations

10 Social Media Strategies From Top Brands



True Social CRM should be invisible for the vendor and transparent to the customer-Me again

Gen T…The Twitter Generation


Is that possible to have? Seriously… A generation that revolves around and relies on Twitter; and wouldn’t know what to do without it? A group of people that start and end their day with a good morning and a good night to their Twitter network. Is that you? Gen T?

When Twitter was down or went down what did you do? When Twitter doesn’t do what it is supposed to do, what do you do? Do you rely on Twitter for your information about the days events? Is it your search engine for content, and content ideas? Is it your own informal little polling tool?

Twitter is an icebreaker for you.

Do you reach out to your network for restaurant ideas and places to go when you’re traveling? Do you share the mundane? As well as the exciting and earth shattering things that may happen in your life? How important is it that you Retweet something? How pissed do you get when you are auto-DM’ed? How much do you Tweet after the work day ends?

How does your work day begin? Does it revolve around starting up your favorite Twitter client? Do you share your wins and losses- your frustrations?

I bet you have a story about Twitter and how it affected your business for the positive. I also bet you could tell us about something bad or unpleasant that you were witness to on Twitter as well. I imagine you have a fairly healthy list of suggestions that Twitter could enact that would make it better for all of us.

How strong are some of your personal relationships versus some of your relationships forged because of Twitter? When you meet someone for the first time, though you have been tweeting for months or years on Twitter, what’s it like? Good, bad, better, or indifferent?

You are part of the Twitter generation.

This Tuesday’s #SocialMedia Tweetchat topic with @aaronstrout

Social CRM – Lipstick on CRM or Transformational Business Model?

October 11th, 2009

We spend a lot of time on this chat discussing social media and marketing with details like implementing, measuring, strategizing, executing,lipstick engaging, etc.  Let’s say we dial it in and our community efforts are going great and growing quickly.  I say, SO WHAT!  If you’re not converting these prospects and customers to do something then who cares.  All this social stuff doesn’t matter if you don’t sell more stuff or keep existing customers on board longer by providing better service.  Another way to look at it is turning regular customers into advocates and detractors into believers.  This happens when you engage the customer quickly, meet expectations, deliver quality and consistency over time in an open and transparent way.  Companies manage these interactions today using internal tracking systems like Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  But wait, customers are not using old ways to communicate, they are using new ways to engage and interact with social tools.  this leaves companies scrambling to figure out how to engage and interact from their internal legacy systems.  Along comes Social CRM.

Everyone is trying to define Social CRM (great resource from Bob Thompson) in their own way and yet no one definition quite fits all needs yet.  One definition by Paul Greenberg makes a lot more sense than many others I’ve seen.  He says:

CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.

But we are not here to define it, our intent is to educate a new legion of corporate soldiers – hell bent on infusing their companies with social goodness both externally and internally.  So what does Social CRM look like?  Here’s a possibility:

  • Traditional CRM: (sales) prospects become leads, leads become accounts and from accounts come opportunities.  Sales people are managed with activity levels (# of calls, emails), funnels are staged and it becomes more operationally focused (read: process focused not customer focused)
  • Social CRM: in an online home improvement Q&A, a homeowner asks “what goes better on a kitchen floor, wood, carpet or tile?” A professional from a home improvement big box store responds with “Tile, because wood might warp with water spills and carpet will hide food that drops.  I am going to forward you a direct line to our local store and a 15% coupon on flooring tile.  Come in this weekend and I’ll make sure Joe is available to walk you through the options in person.”  CRM is updated, Joe at store is notified and homeowner is sent an email with a “Tweet This” link on your experience.  The new measurement might be interactions started, prospects referred and  conversational intent.

A couple of things are happening here.  1) Sales forces must change the “50 calls/day = 10 meetings /week =1 sale/month” sales by the numbers approach to an approach that engages with prospects and their needs and over-delivers with solutions that are relevant at the time.  2) Systems must be able to support this distributed engagement and broaden the ownership roles across many levels of a customer taking what is traditionally an inside-out approach and integrating more of an outside-in model.

To  help us make sense of this all, we’ve invited Aaron Strout to help us moderate the topic this week.  Aaron is a proven professional in this space working from both the vendor and customer side, and is a social heavyweight for sure.  We’ll need a heavywieght as we explore this relatively new topic of Social CRM and begin to identify places to consider implementing within our collective companies.   The chat will consist of 3 questions as usual coming 20 minutes apart and starting at 12 noon EST.  Join in by following #socialmedia through Twitter or to make it easier follow our LIVE page during the event.  The topic:

Social CRM – Lipstick on CRM or Transformational Business Model?

Q1: How does adding social make CRM better?

Q2:  If social is front end & CRM is back end, what information is important to capture into CRM?

Q3:  How can Social CRM help improve conversion (cover sales, service, support)?

Social Media Smarts: Estee Lauder Promotion extends the brand beyond the life of make-up

Estee Lauder Gets Women Ready for Their Social-Media Close-ups. Cosmetics Giant Offers Makeovers and Professional Photos to Use for Profile Pictures

BATAVIA, Ohio ( — The venerable Estee Lauder cosmetics brand has found a seemingly natural way to connect with social media: offering free makeovers and photo shoots at its department-store cosmetics counters coast-to-coast to produce shots women can use for their online profiles.

Excellent Idea, though one has to wonder whether the demographic at the cosmetics is an active user of Facebook or understands the how. We’ll see.

The Top 45 Objections To Using Social Media


If you’ve been in the business of social media for any length of time, whether you have been selling it, marketing it, or implementing it, you will have heard one of the 45 objections below. What really makes this list though, is that the majority of it came from you and your clients and your experiences.  It was crowdsourced from Twitter!

However, There’s a larger and more important issue here though, and it’s one in which you can and should, use this list as your cheat sheet. YOU need to be able to answer all of these objections. Or at least anticipate that your clients and prospects will be voicing these concerns and more.

Feel free to add to this list.

1)  Why should I? I don’t need to. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean I have to.

2)  It’s a fad, I’m going to stick to what works for our business

3)  It costs too much

4)   I’m in no hurry

5)  I have no desire

6)  It will require too many resources within our company

7)  I’m worried about the legal ramifications

8)  We’re better off by doing nothing

9)  To risky

10) You can’t measure it

11)  We give up too much to the customer

12) We won’t make any money

13) We can’t control the message

14) We don’t know the first thing about social media

15) It will take too long to pay off

16) It will take too long to implement

17) It’s just a blog, twitter and Facebook- What’s that going to do?

18) I can do it/we can do it ourselves

19) It’s not worth it

20) Our customers are not on social networks

21) It’s too complicated

22) We can’t control our employees using it

23) I can’t it’s a legal issue

24) We want to control the message

25) We can’t support with our current management/management   doesn’t support

26) We’re B2B so there is no reason for us to engage consumers

27) It’s a regulatory issue. So no guidelines in place.

28) No trust

29) Don’t want to acknowledge negatives

30) Not our customers

31) Don’t have time to adapt to the technology

32) Social Media results are not easily visible to non-users

33) Fear of change and the unknown

34) Not our target market

35) Our customers don’t use social media

36) Our deadlines are more important than your Tweet goofs.

37) Privacy issues

38) No ROI potential

39) Lack of expertise

40) Lack of a market

41) We already do social networking, we have a facebook fan page.

42) Too complicated & therefore, we’ll look for alternative options

43) We’ve been fine without it

44) We’re waiting for it to mature

45) We tried it, it didn’t work.

46) ?

What are we missing?

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Social Media Conundrum #43 The rear view mirror


Just because you have blog posts, white papers, e-books, podcasts, and books that tell you how to use social media or how to roll out your social media marketing plan-That doesn’t guarantee anything. If you have not done it yourself, then you cannot assume that what is written and what is said, is what is going to happen. With that being said…

Past performance is not an indicator of future success