The Social Media Plateau

Datamonitorussocialnetworkingmemb_2 I have been buried in a mountain of market research over the last couple of weeks. It has been an interesting exercise for me, especially considering my usual suspicion around research, its methods and even its value. One of the things that I find fascinating is the way that your own analysis and reading can actually bear out similar results to the research firms … next time you are commissioning market research — or even just digging around, try the following:

  • When you are formulating your brief (or just a series of questions), hand write your brief on a separate notepad
  • Write two bullet point responses to each question — indicating a low expectation response and a high expectation response
  • Ask a couple of people that you know for their responses to your questions (it helps if they are in your field of inquiry)
  • If you don’t know anyone who can help you, drop your question into LinkedIn or on Facebook and see what turns up (the network is smarter than you are) … (BIG thanks to Kris Hoet and Ewan McIntosh here)

Anyway, along the way, I found this summary of social media research which makes for interesting reading. Not compelling … it is market research after all!

Datamonitors predict that the explosive growth of social media membership will plateau in five years. FIVE years! It seems to me that the folks over at Datamonitors don’t understand this space at all! This is going to be a completely different space in five years … in the two years that I have been writing this blog there has been a vast amount of change. For example, about 12 months ago I was thinking that Facebook was washed up … that the horse had bolted and that MySpace had won (glad I don’t write predictions here especially given today’s news!).

And as Ann Handley jokes, blogging years are like "dog years" … one year counts for about seven in terms of experience. So if we apply this to the research … in about 35 years social media will plateau — basically growth in social media in 2042 will only be possible in line with global population expansion.

Ok, that was slightly facetious. But you know I love research … but not as much as Rob.

6 thoughts on “The Social Media Plateau

  1. Gavin,
    Perhaps what they mean by plateau (haven’t read the research, so I’m flying in the clouds) is this particular phase of Social Medias. Is it possible that blogs, vlogs, podcasts, social media sites will be gone as we know them in five years and be replaced by something we cannot imagine today?

  2. Research companies are like women [this is going to get me in trouble, can’t you tell]
    Some are really good, some really bad, some are pretty with no substance and some have lots of substance that isn’t always pretty … and very, very rarely, you get pretty AND with substance.
    If I had a choice, I’d go with the latter but I’d happily take the ‘substance but ugly’ would . Only in my choice of researchers mind 🙂

  3. I seem to have developed the grammar of a 5 year old in my previous comment. Sorry.
    Oh and to my wife who is looking over my shoulder as I type this, you are one of the very, very rare ones. Phew.

  4. Lewis … the past is rarely a good predictor of innovation. My guess is that the form social media takes in five years time will be disruptive in a disruptive kind of way.
    Rob … are you Cool McCool? Is danger your business?

  5. Also, Rob, this reminds me of what one of my four year old daughters said the other day … “Dad, I am pretty AND smart”. Not a question. A statement.

Comments are closed.