Social Media and Web Metrics Dinner Party Conversation

Ok class it’s time to throw out bits and pieces of useless information to astound the people you’re talking to this weekend at the dinner party that you have to go to. Usually when you go to these things, you try to seek out the tech-y guy or person. But ultimately what happens is they try to impress you with what they know and think YOU don’t know nothing. It’s at this point you drop of this on them.


Social Media

So some how, things shift to talking about social networks, you went to get a drink and bam, somehow they’re talking about how America’s youth is effed up because of Myspace and Facebook and is populated by amped up testosterone laced males. At which point you chime in and say:

Actually Facebook has more female users than male. In fact, of the 57 million users on Facebook, 56% of them are female.  It’s at this point that you now have their attention and they all start looking at you. Which is when I silently thank Marty Fahncke for throwing that tidbit of his up on an article in Electronic Retailer

So now they are wanting more.  So thanks to Marty I throw this one out: DID YOU KNOW…that Linkedin has 17 million members with every Fortune 500 company represented? Or that the average age of the LInkedin user is 41?   Hopefully none of them ask what Linkedin is, but invariably there WILL be someone within the group who asks.

So while they’re chewing on that someone will of course ask, How many members use MySpace? And with total confidence you answer 200 million members, 110 million of which are “active”. Whew. You have them eating out of your hand right now.

Time to drop some good stuff on them now.

Web Metrics

Did they know that the average American spends 30 hours per month online with October being the heaviest month for usage? Thanks comScore Or that Ann Arbor had the highest internet penetration in the U.S.? According to The Media Audit

Think the majority of users are the 18-31 user? Think again. Leading the way for tops in internet usage are the 44-62 year olds. In 3rd place are the 32-43 year olds and behind them are the 63+ demo followed by the 12-17 year olds according to emarketer

The audience around you will grow and the questions will now vary. But they will all have a tech feel and flavor. Someone will no doubt ask, what site they should go to in order to get a good feel for the pulse of say the blogosphere. I’ll mention that shel israel has a really interesting and observant blog that should at least warrant a stop by as does Seth Godin who always has some great points about all things marketing related.

But maybe that’s too deep for you and you need  some sites that are light on the copy and heavy on engagaing you for awhile. Where can you go you ask? Go here and check out what streams from Kevin Kelly’s consciousness.

I grab another drink while I see some grabbing napkins to write on. I blurt out that I always enjoyed this blog just because it’s put together well, and its always got something that helps me learn and understand and yet is not so technical. Jaffe Juice fills that need.

From the Jaffe Juice site: How many social media experts does it take to change a lightbulb?

Uh oh, I think you’re starting to glaze over, too much info. It happens to everyone who doesn’t live and breath and digest this stuff on a daily basis. Thats cool though. For that I will throw Matt Creamer at you, he always has some interesting links to pass on as does Nathan Gilliatt but it may be a little to techy for you. But then again, when this conversation started you thought you knew your stuff anyways. You do Twitter don’t you?


Why Linkedin is growing so fast.

As first reported by Mario Sundar, Linkedin grew 319% last year.  And to some this seems almost surprising. But if you really look at what Linkedin does, it brings more to the table than a hookup site like Facebook does. Does that surprise you that I said that I said that? Talk to your average college student and ask them what they use FB for. They might not admit it but it’s a mechanism to try and hook up without having to actually speak. it lessens rejection and makes eventual physical interactions less stressfull and less in your face. People on Facebook when talking to others, will say things they would never say face to face, and thus the reason FB is so popular with the 18-24 demo.

Now some would say that Linkedin’s growth could be attributed to the growth of social networking sites into demographics that traditionally stay away from social networking. As Nick Oneill wrote in Social Media Today, the Boomer generation has an increasing number of people on social networks. Users over 45 now account for a whopping 31 percent of LinkedIn’s user base.  But Linkedin is NOT a boomer-centric site. That’s not what is spurring its growth.

I don’t view boomer’s as a traditional user of Linkedin per se, I look at boomers as PART of the mix that is the sum of the parts that define Linkedin’s user base.

What’s happening, is that business professionals are  a) starting to see the value of being transparent and b) beginning to utilize the power of  online networking and c) understanding that social media can be used in a way that does not construe them as being too young, too trendy, too ignorant, too old, too un-tech savvy, or too uncool to their peers. They are comfortable with it, and they are now sharing that comfort level with others. So the effect has been viral! And…here is the last part no one will admit.

People are addicted to watching their number of connections grow. They are obsessive to the point that I wouldn’t mind taking a straw poll as to how many times a day the average LI user logs in to look for people, add people, and or reading about someone, asking a question, or answering one.  The question would be: How much time do you spend on Linkedin each day?

Case in point: With other demographics, when they get together, the first or last question out of their mouth might be, “Are you on Facebook?”  Whereas, now because of the prominence of social networks, that same general social networking question now resonates differently and has a more meaningfull response when professionals ask each other, “Are you on Linkedin”? 

Linkedin’s creation has allowed some of the old school traditional business processes to be bypassed, such as: the exchanging of business cards, leaving voicemail, sending intro-letters, putting together press kits, creating static web pages, mailing out brochures, and giving away swag. Anything to connect. In favor of a clear, non invasive, low stress evaluation of someone and their company. The ability to reach out to that person and their company now takes on a whole new meaning. Introductions to people and their companies now can be done efficiently and business relationships now have a  pre-existing comfort level that is in place between parties who actually may do business together. A streamlined engagement. Look at it as “hooking up” the professional way!

How important is uptime in Social networks?

Apparently not too important to the folks at Bebo According to Royal Pingdom (great name by the way) which measures downtime using Pingdom’s uptime monitoring service.

Bebo’s downtime has increased significantly lately and has had by far the most downtime of the 14 social networks monitored for the survey. More than 12 hours of downtime in less than two months is a lot, and it could possibly be caused by the new open application platform that Bebo launched in December, allowing third-party developers access to its platform, Facebook style. It could be putting more strain on Bebo’s systems than they anticipated.

The two giants in the field, MySpace (with 25 minutes of downtime) and Facebook (with one hour and 35 minutes of downtime), can both be considered to be within acceptable limits, especially MySpace.

Social networks, just like any other websites, will occasionally suffer from downtime, either planned or unplanned. However, social networks have a different type of usage than most websites, with frequent visits from the same user and many page views per visit. Therefore downtime can often be even more noticeable and frustrating to social network users.

Below are the results of the survey.

Social Network Home page (monitored) Downtime in 2008 (until Feb 25)
Bebo 12h 28m
Windows Live Spaces 7h 25m
Friendster 6h 0m
hi5 5h 5m 2h 55m
LinkedIn 4h 0m 2h 5m
Facebook 1h 35m
Orkut 1h 10m 1h 10m
Xanga 45m
MySpace 25m
LiveJournal 10m
Yahoo! 360 5m

* According to Royal Pingdom: If a web page is not reachable, returns an error, or takes longer than 30 seconds to load, it is considered as down. Downtime is always confirmed from two geographically separate locations.