Blogging declines among under-30 set

4 02 2010

A new report on “Social Media and Young Adults” by Pew finds several interesting trends, the most pronounced of which is a decline in blogging.  Wirelessly connecting in general, though, continues to rise among teens and young adults.

Teens particularly disdain Twitter, to which those over 30 continue to flock. And in a bad sign for Facebook, users are now equally split between over-30s and under-30s. That finding  holds up in the sample of my household, where the half that is in college grows less enthusiastic about Facebook while the older segment finds itself battling obsession. We’re already seeing clear indications among the younger half that Facebook use is growing hopelessly passe.

The study shows that online activity is near saturation points among the under-30s, while I was surprised that far less than half of those over 65 are online. I’m sure that curve will flatten rapidly, but it still is cause for consideration in communications strategies aimed at wide demographic groups.

Pole vault over the paywall?

25 01 2010

Turns out, there could well be a chink in the paywall of

In fact, it may not be a wall at all, and may not address the  issue  of news aggregators linking to content generated by newspapers.

Of course, The Times wants to encourage links to its online content, perhaps particularly so once The Times asks us to pay for that content upon reaching a certain number of visits to its site. Naturally, those includes links from bloggers and on Facebook and Twitter and other social media. And if you follow such a link, it won’t count in your “metered” number of visits.

Q. What about posting articles to Facebook and other social media? Would friends without a subscription then not be able to view an article that I think is relevant for them? — Julie, Pinole CA
A. Yes, they could continue to view articles. If you are coming to from another Web site and it brings you to our site to view an article, you will have access to that article and it will not count toward your allotment of free ones.
But as Jay Rosen points out,

Google News is surely “another Web site,” therefore all articles found that way will be free and accessible. … No matter how often Google News is used to get to the Times, if you come back by that route you will never be charged.

Which means that for those people who get their news from the web itself, using search, aggregators, social media and blogs to find the stuff they want, the stuff they find from the New York Times will always be available, free of charge.  That looks a lot less like a pay wall to me. It isn’t a metered system if I can access the Times via the link economy without limit.  This scrambles a lot of what’s been written on the subject.
This whole paid content issue gets more complicated the further one gets into it. That’s obviated by the fact that the big brains in the business have yet to solve it. But we’ve got to try something. If it turns out the NYT system fails to provide significant revenue for news gathering, let’s tinker some more. The decline of journalism is too urgent to cling to unproven hopes of an new model emerging or to stand on the sidelines naysaying all efforts to make the Fourth Estate viable again.

Digital news paradigm shift?

7 10 2009

Here’s an interesting thought: Online news providers working not through their own Web sites but through news applications on social media.

The concept may work best initially for news about well defined geographic areas or niche topics, such as a university or sports team. But the use of social site news aps could rapidly broaden once news consumers grow accustomed to the idea. The advantage is to catch readers where they already go, rather than forcing them to seek out your news site.

As Steve Rubel sees it:

Conceivably the next great media company will be all spokes and no hub. It will exist as a constellation of connected apps and widgets that live inside other sites and offer a full experience plus access to your social graph and robust community features. Each of these may interconnect too so that a media company’s community on Facebook can talk to the same on Twitter.

Facebook might be the first venue where this starts. It could become a mini news reader for millions who don’t care about RSS or Twitter. Over time this may obviate the need to create large news sites. It’s easier to create a rich interactive experience there than start a new news site and hope that people come to you. They won’t have time to find or visit.

The end of advertising as we know it?

1 10 2009

The IBM Institute for Business Value has a new study out suggesting that the traditional intrusive, one-to-many advertising model is dying, to be replaced by interactive, one-to-one ad formats. Executive summary here.ibmlogo-21

The next 5 years will hold more change for the advertising industry than
the previous 50 did. Increasingly empowered consumers, more self-reliant
advertisers and ever-evolving technologies are redefining how advertising is
sold, created, consumed and tracked. Our research points to four evolving
future scenarios – and the catalysts that will be driving them. Traditional
advertising players – broadcasters, distributors and advertising agencies
– may get squeezed unless they can successfully implement consumer,
business model and business design innovation.

As the pithy Lisa Hickey says, “Today, brands are judged by the quality of their conversation. Brands are people, and people are brands.”

Is marketing’s Big Idea approach dead?

20 08 2009

A provocative post at Six Pixels of Separation proposes that it’s time to move toward many ideas (and many agencies) and away from the Big Idea campaign that lasts several months or years.

The growing multiplicity of media and increasingly fragmented audiences argue in favor of this approach. Even in big, mainstream media, it’s already being done. The article sites the Geico example with its simultaneous gecko, caveman and stack of cash campaigns. SavewithGeico

Conversely, does it work for Anheuser-Busch Inbev to switch campaign themes every few months, jumping from goofy to glam to serious to sarcastic?

Judging from the range of comments, it’s a very open question.

Ad revenue dips for social networking sites

9 07 2009

The research firm eMarketer projects that advertising on social networks will drop 3% to $1.1 billion this year after a period of hot growth, amid spending cuts by marketers and problems at MySpace. The projection is a sharp reversal. In December, eMarketer projected growth of 10.2% for 2009 to $1.3 billion.eMarketer graph

However, the dip is only temporary, the firm says. It predicts that spending will hit the $1.3 billion mark next year.

“The expected rebound in spending will come as more companies focus on creating and implementing an overall social marketing strategy,” says Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, Social Network Ad Spending: A Brighter Outlook Next Year. “And it is a clear indication that the experimental phase of social network marketing is finally drawing to an end.”

… Social network users create a gigantic amount of data about themselves—their friend networks, likes and dislikes, content-sharing activities and more.

“Harnessing this information to deliver advertising not only within social networks, but on other sites a consumer may visit, is a marketer’s dream come true,” says Ms. Williamson.

Digital Revolution Frustrates Iranian Thug Regime

15 06 2009

This from the London Guardian’s News Blog is really cool.


Iranian people turn digital smugglers in battle for information

Despite depleted phone and internet services, protesters are becoming more inventive in methods of spreading their message

In days gone by, crushing a revolution was a lot easier. There were no mobile phones to co-ordinate street action or relay what was happening to the outside world. Even more importantly, there wasn’t an internet. Now it is common to hear of “internet” or even “twitter revolutions” – as Andrew Sullivan on the Atlantic has already described the current protests in Iran.

It is precisely for that reason that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appears to have – temporarily at least – shut down Facebook, Twitter, mobile phone networks and unsympathetic websites. Nevertheless, Iranians are still managing to feed out information, embracing the technology that the moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi employed during his ultimately unsuccessful election campaign.

Protestors are uploading dramatic photos of confrontations with police on sites like Flickr.


When we see spontaneous and courageous communiques like this taking advantage of new media, it’s clear that the term “revolution” is correctly applied to what’s happening in digital communications. It’s also clear how digital communications facilitate democratic and human rights revolutions. Scenes like this will only encourage despotic societies like China to clamp down harder on the Internet, but the tide will prove irresistible. The more wired a country, the less tenacious tyrrany.

The Costs and Benefits of Distraction

1 06 2009

distractionJust when I was considering a severe diet of reduced social media consumption because of the distraction and wasted time, Twitter alerted me to this excellent article in New York magazine.

The irony is that through Twitter I found wonderful information, very related to my interests, that makes me even more concerned about what’s happened to my ability to focus during the digital age. Further irony: while reading it, I was semi-watching a Harry Potter movie with one daughter and texting another. Further irony: consumption of this digital media led to a very meaningful live, in-person conversation with the first daughter.

The article’s headline, “In Defense of Distraction,” is somewhat misleading because the writer concentrates mostly on the detriments of overstimulation and distraction before ending on a somewhat forced optimistic note.

By the way, what do you know about the Boston Molasses Disaster?