According to a new study from Forrester Research, “while social network participation continues to grow, other forms of social interaction are now stable or on the wane” (via MediaPost).
Between 2009 and 2010, there was no real growth in the “Creators” category (those who generate social content, such as bloggers) in any national market. As Forrester analysts Jacqueline Anderson and Josh Bernoff explained, “A lack of growth in this area translates into a lack of fresh ideas, content, and perspectives… The traits required to be a Creator are unique, and at this moment, the consumer market interested in these behaviors has plateaued.” Similarly, the “Critics” category (those who post ratings and reviews) is at a bit of a standstill, seeing real growth only in Japan (12%) and Australia (4%).
Not surprisingly, every national market saw a continued increase in “Joiners” (those joining and maintaining profiles on social networks) and most saw an increase in “Spectators” (observers and readers, the audience for creators and critics). Forrester’s Augie Ray commented, “The fact Joiners continue to grow means marketers must continue to focus their attention and budgets on social networks in 2011. More people will spend more time and get more information through social networks, and where consumer time and attention goes, so will marketer investment.” Jackie Rousseau-Anderson stated, “Companies will now need to devise strategies to extend social applications past the early adopters. This means that you need to understand how your consumers use social media.”
Apparently this is the first time Forrester’s Social Technographics® have experienced this type of change in growth.