Tag Archives: pew research

Prediction: The best Twitter ploys of 2009 will involve physical events

Twitter is approaching a critical mass in users, and they’re a mobile bunch. These two factors, substantiated in a recent Pew Internet and American Life report, make 2009 the year when place-based events finally get a strong boost from Twitter.

Twitter is helping to bring event promotion into prospects' handsA recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life project shed some light on the typical U.S. Twitter user. This person is more “mobile” than the norm: “As a group they are much more likely to be using wireless technologies — laptops, handhelds and cell phones — for internet access, or cell phones for text messaging,” according to the report.

Here are a few other highlights:

  • Twitter users are young. Their median age is 31. In comparison, the median age of a MySpace user is 27, a Facebook user is 26 and a LinkedIn user is 40.7
  • Most likely because of this comparative youth, Twitter users are slightly more racially and ethnically diverse than is the full US population “Younger Americans are a more ethnically and racially diverse group than is the full population,” according to the report.
  • Users of Twitter are reaching a critical mass: 11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others.

What this means for marketers is that they can begin seeing real benefits from crowdsourcing their place-based events, even with less tech-savvy users. Expect to see more messages like this one in the months to come: “Come see us at [event name] today. Bring [related object or clipping] and receive a free [premium]. Please re-Tweet!”

You’re it: Tagging, social bookmarking and marketing

If the internet is getting smarter, it is only because we are being carefully watched. The video Web 2.0: The Machine is Us/ing Us brilliantly demonstrates what I mean. It shows an internet that has become more valuable by connecting us through observed preferences.

A link to the Web 2.0 videoThose preferences are observed through our past behavior — always the best predictor of future action. The video explains: “100 billion times per day, humans are clicking on a web page … teaching the Machine what we think is important.”

I recommend you follow this video, by Michael Wesch of Kansas State University, through to its completion. The payoff is fascinating and sobering.

Some of this behavior is passive.

Merely clicking on a web page, for example, is something that even my mother does. She needs no special training or instruction. Yet systems such as the recently unveiled Google Personalized Search are improving her browsing experience by customizing content based on her past searches — and even her web browsing history.

Don’t think this has gone unnoticed by those in the search engine optimization business. Google Personalized Search is a major shift in the optimization game, a phenomenon that’s sending us all back to our playbooks.

Other behavior is more active.

Specifically I’m talking about the type of tagging that takes place in online social networks. According to a recent Pew research study, “28% of internet users have tagged or categorized content online such as photos, news stories or blog posts.” On any given day, this report says that 7% of internet users have tagged or categorized online content. To put that in perspective, that’s seven times the number of people who on that day have listened to a podcast.

So who is doing all of this tagging? Not surprisingly, they’re more likely to be under 40, with higher than average incomes and education levels.

Pew has no way to report on whether this tagging behavior is growing in popularity. This was the organization’s first ever research on tagging. But Hitwise reports that sites that enable tagging, such as Del.icio.us and Flickr, are gaining in popularity.

In just three months, according to Hitwise, Flickr grew in popularity by 140%. By that I mean that visits to this photo sharing site accounted for .029% of visits a week in January, up from less than .012% three months earlier.

In the same time span, Del.ic.ious traffic grew by over 600%. Visits to that online recommendation site increased to .0036%, up from .0005% in October, 2006. (Thanks for your help on these stats, Wendy Davis of MediaPost.)

Here’s a Wired rundown of some of the best tagging and social bookmarking sites. Tag, you’re it!