Travel Trends – Blog Now!, Social is Mainstream, Internet Users

Just a screen capture, don't click me and expect something to happen...

Just a screen capture, nothing happens if you click me...

Let’s hear it for the blog – A great clip from the recent Open Forum series, brought to you by American Express, Tom Peters and Seth Godin discuss, or more accurately, celebrate the blog.  Anyone who is or is thinking about blogging needs to watch the clip:

Another note, this is a good example of creating valuable, relevant content that drives consumers back to your site.  As you will see by the Open Forum site, the goal here is to get small business owners to view the content, which is surrounded by the AMEX brand and then sign up for the Open card.  Notice, we could not embed the video on our site, usually a death-sentence for a viral video, but in this case the content is so good we are linking to it anyway.

Something to think about prior to your next video / commercial shoot.  How do we not only create a commercial for TV, but how can we pull out additional, valuable (!) content for online?

And, thanks to the Happy Hotelier and Michael Chaffin for spotting the video.

Social is the Mainstream – From the depths of the research file comes this little quote that you are now free to throw out wildly at company meetings…social websites are now mainstream!

A consumer poll done in the second quarter found that 75 percent of Internet users participate in some form of social media, up from 56 percent in 2007.

Adoption rates vary by the type of activity. For example, Forrester found large growth in participation among those reading blogs and writing product reviews. “Spectator” rates jumped from 48 percent to 69 percent. Likewise, those identifying themselves as “critics” increased from 25 percent to 37 percent.

Yet other areas saw more modest increases. Maintaining RSS feeds and tagging Internet content remain far from the norm. Just 19 percent fell into that “collector” category, up from 12 percent a year ago.

Rates of content creation have slowed considerably. Those publishing a blog or personal Web page saw incremental growth: 21 percent versus 18 percent. In fact, blogging grew just 10 percent, well behind the 39 percent growth in starting a social network profile. Still, blogs remain a highly popular form of social media: 48 percent of respondents said they have read one, a nearly 50 percent increase from 2007.

In another sign that social media has gone mainstream, Forrester found the participation gap narrowing among age groups, though younger demographics still rate higher. Forrester found 35-44-year-olds increasingly entered the ranks of critics, joiners and spectators.

Some great stats in there.  Keep these top of mind: 75% of internet users are now participating in some form of social media.  The next time a co-worker says ‘who does this?’ you can reply, 75% of us ‘do this.’

The collector category is always an interesting one for me.  I think RSS can be more widely adopted, but the current way RSS is presented to the consumer is confusing.  RSS, feeds, readers…it all sounds like work.  However, utilizing RSS technology and presenting it in an understandable package (i.e., Google Alerts) will result in much greater adoption.  Tagging is just a few more years away…for tagging to really experience growth, consumers have to be educated on the technology primarily from large providers such as Microsoft.  Once you can save your Word files by tags, instead of the folder system, the adoption rate will increase.

Finally, let’s touch on blogs.  Since we confessed our undying love for blogs in the first trend, it seems a bit odd to tout a report that shows only modest growth.  However, understand the commitment required with a blog vs. a social network profile.  Again, bloggers have to be dedicated, working daily to update, refine and cultivate their blog.  While updating a social networking profile is a one-time set-up, with the occasional update.

Bloggers are educated, passionate individuals with the social power and desire to influence, speak to and engage with others.

I could not have said it better myself.  Oh, wait, I did.

US Internet User Update – A quick graph from eMarketer on US Internet adoption:

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.