We are immersed in online social media
Dec. 17, 2012
by Mark Ollig

As 2012 ends, it has become evident most of us have made using online social media a part of our daily lives.

And, yes, I count myself as one of those obsessed onliners who cannot get through the day without reporting in on my Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

Just how immersed are we? According to Social Media Report 2012, as prepared by Nielsen Media, one out of three people, ages 18 to 24, will use online social media – even while in the bathroom.

It’s no surprise people are taking their iPhones or other mobile devices with them into the bathroom.

In fact, I had a friend tell me where he works it is normal seeing people walking past him to the bathroom – carrying a mobile device. He went on to say there are times when he sees a person forgetting their mobile device in the bathroom, and then a few minutes later, they will sheepishly walk past him again to retrieve it.

Am I disclosing TMI (too much information) here?

The Nielson report also said more than half of the 25-to 34-year-olds used social media networking while in an office work environment.

In addition to the variety of Internet online social media sites we frequent, we are also spending more time being connected to them.

From July 2011 to July 2012, the amount of time we spent online increased 21 percent.

Although its total number of unique visitors has dropped by 4 percent in one year’s time, Facebook remains the number- one online social network.

Twitter, on the other hand, has seen an increase of 13 percent.

Google+, which began in September 2011, has realized an increase of 80 percent.

The newest online social media superstar called Pinterest, a theme-based, photo-pinning sharing website, saw its number of new visitors increase an impressive 1,047 percent.

The manner in which we connect to social media networks has also changed during the course of a year.

In 2012, we saw a 9 percent increase in the use of mobile phones accessing online social networks than reported in 2011.

Using a personal computer versus a mobile device still accounts for lion’s share of how we connect to our social media, although this method did drop 3 percent from last year, and now stands at 94 percent.

Using mobile devices will, no doubt, continue its growth in popularity as the preferred method for online social media access.

In fact, the biggest percentage increase for the year was seen from the use of mobile computing tablet devices.

In 2011, three percent of those polled said they used a tablet device for social networking. This year it increased to 16 percent.

Mobile web usage was up 82 percent, and mobile web applications (apps) saw an increased usage of 85 percent.

So, how do we feel after we have participated in our social networking sessions?

The report says 76 percent of us felt positive, while 21 percent felt negative.

I noticed the “word cloud” in the section of the Nielsen report talking about how we feel after a social media session.

“Connected” and “informed” are the most popular words, while “amused,” “indifferent,” “wasted time,” and “sad” were some of the other words chosen.

You’ve probably come across a word cloud application – sometimes called a tag cloud – while on a website.

The word cloud box contains words of different sizes. These words summarize a visual representation of user-generated content, in this case, specific words mentioned.

Seeing a larger-sized word (tag) in the word cloud means it has been repeated the most on the site in response to a question, subject, comment, or as found in a blog.

A word cloud for me is sort of like taking the current pulse of a subject being discussed or asked about on a site and seeing the most popular words being expressed for it, or, in the case of the Nielsen report, the feelings being expressed.

The modern, online social media usage of word clouds began when Flickr (a video and image hosting website owned by Yahoo), began using them in 2004.

Growing since 1992, “Social media and social networking are no longer in their infancy,” says Deidre Bannon, vice president of media analytics for Nielsen.

In her video presentation, Bannon disclosed that more than 27,000,000 pieces of publically-created content are being shared each day over social media networks.

Since we spend so much time absorbed within our social media networks, I feel it is a good idea to take a break from them once and a while.

Sometimes, a brief hiatus from being online is needed to clear our minds.

And, with that, let’s all go out and enjoy Minnesota’s winter wonderland and participate in everything this picturesque, snow-filled environment has to offer.

Afterwards, we will undoubtedly feel obligated to report in to Facebook and Twitter with our video, photos, and comments.

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