While the info in this diagram is old (Q2 2007) and it specifically tracks European social media participation rather than global (and it would be nice to see North American figures at least, and then I always like a breakdown between Canada and the US because – well – I don’t like feeling like the overlooked middle child in a large family), the use of the ladder is an interesting visual metaphor. Some of us, myself included, confidently seem to have started at the top of the ladder and are busily running down it now.
Rearranging the information in percentage terms would actually give you a far more accurate visual representation of the progression of social media usage, I think. I know I had been blogging for a good two years before I ever set up a feed reader system for myself, and since I’m considered an alpha flickr user, I was creating content from the very beginning of my involvement with social media. I’d also argue that social media has been in existence for well over a decade now, and that Twitter has its roots in chat, but I’ve already talked about that elsewhere.
I’d be interested to know in the comments if you started blogging before you started seriously reading other blogs or not. I have been known to try to operate machinery without reading the instruction manual too.
Hat tip to United BIT for the diagram and its post on the subject.
I DID blog before reading the manual. It was a direct move from journal on paper to… so I had no interest in stats one way or the other. That’s simply because I was viewing it as a social network with no requirements beyond building a small. intimate circle dedicated to very specific needs. There was no corporate goal, because it was about information and experience exchange int he realm of Down syndrome. A while in and I become aware of traffic, nurturing that little group of mine and sharing the link love and so on. It grew organically. When it came to the time when I wanted to use blogging in a more career-related way, I have built up more understanding of what was involved (although I’m still not very smart or applied at it!) I’m convinced that soc media now falls into those two camps. Corp v social, fun v profit-driven. Interesting to see over the next five years just how that distinction evolves. Will it blur, become more focussed or split completely? Crystal ball there?
I certainly started blogging as a form of self publishing, free of editorial constraints except the self imposed, and really I only installed Google Analytics on the personal site to learn how to do so for clients and to familiarize myself with the metrics.
I think in terms of audience the turning point for me came when I learned of a friend’s untimely death two years after the fact and blogged about him while I was having trouble finding his family – I felt so terrible that I hadn’t expressed my condolences and so horrified that I hadn’t known he was dead. That post is still the most viewed on my personal site, and it’s the one I’m most glad to have written.
And I still feel rather daring when I comment on someone else’s blog. Don’t you? Which is funny though, because obviously I have no scruples about plucking people out of cyberspace and befriending them on the flimsiest of excuses. 🙂
Thanks for reading and commenting, Nick.
I like the post Ruth; thanks for pointing it out! I generally on a no-excuse needed policy to become FriendZ w/ someone in the SM world. We’re all out there to share information and help each other out. Connecting with people is the way to make it happen.
As for me, I think I started somewhere in the middle of the ladder, doing some spectating and collecting mostly via Twitter. I found it natural to move into blogging, but I still feel like I don’t do enough spectating.
Even if you’re just blogging for fun/social reasons, the more you listen, the more you can add to the conversation!
Frankly, I’m relieved to hear I’m not the only one who hasn’t started at the so-called ‘beginning’ rung. Nice to hear from you, Chris.
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The ladder metaphor tries too hard, I think, though the intent is good. Another analogy might be the food court, or the serving stations at a buffet.
Most people gravitate to what they know or what they think they recognize. So the hamburgers and the pasta and maybe the moo goo gai pan have lots of folks. Then a friend tells them, “You ought to try this lamb vindaloo” and they’re at least sampling Indian.
Nibbling and seeking out are different things, though, and seeking out is different from cooking the dish at home.
The “social” part of social media says not to criticize your friend’s food choices. Much better to find out what the friend’s interested in (out of preference or out of curiosity) and connect with that.
What a great analogy. And what a relief to know we’re at a buffet and just because it’s all you can eat, we don’t have to approach it as a contest either. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Dave.