Research Reveals the Rising Relevance of Social Networking Sites

One of my research interests is the metoric rise social networking services: LinkedIn.com, Facebook.com, MySpace.com and others. Typical social network services use software to help users create on-line networks with people who share interests and activities  or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others.

My particular curiosity is learning how entrepreneurs and small business owners use social networking services to effectively make contacts, share information and build business.

So it was particularly interesting to me when I stumbled across a great post on a blog called “The Thinking Stick” titled “Moving from Consumer to Producer of Information.” It focused on the rise of social networking sites and blogs as the primary means of entertainment, information gathering and knowledge production (primarily among 18 to 24 year olds).

The blog presents research conducted by MySpace and reported by Netimperative this past January as follows:

  • Social networks are now so integral to daily life, for some, they have surpassed the TV as the entertainment media of choice.
  • Nearly half of 18-24 year old social networkers (45%) told Future Laboratory researchers that if they had 15 minutes of spare time they would choose spend it on social networking sites rather than watching TV, reading, talking on their mobile, or playing video games.  
  • The impact of this trend is so significant that a quarter (25%) of respondents state that the rise in social networks has decreased the amount of traditional television they consume.

Clearly, social networking sites have evolved between simple socialization and are emerging as an entirely new cultural paradigm. In fact, they are now even becoming relevant to business.