Friday, October 2, 2009

Is There a Social Media's Bubble

Aren't you curious? I've asked whether there's a social media bubble from many people, especially over the last couple of weeks. This afternoon I searched on Google and found numerous articles dating back to 2007 predicting a social media bubble burst.




So, is it true? Is there a social media bubble?
(A note about the image on this page. It is borrowed from the socialmedia.biz website)



Arguably, there are many marketing people, various technology gurus (whatever that means), along with their mothers, aunts, uncles, cats, dogs, gerbils and rats that've swarmed on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, among others. Many want to be there because it's the cool thing to do. They don't want to feel like they missed the boat, or seem like they don't anything about these technologies.

Another way of asking this question is whether social media is a fad. I'm not sure. After all, was the introduction of the Internet a fad? How about eCommerce? In fact, I'd argue that social media has its roots in such arcane technology as bulletin boards from eCenturies ago that later transformed to online groups published on Google, Yahoo! and other sites.

Also, consider that there are very many people that've not yet used social media. These are the late adopters that often don't start using the technology until after its peak. I think there are still plenty of people that've not yet adopted social networking and will. The numbers could be astounding.

I'll take Facebook as an example. The latest Facebook stats show that there are over 300 million active users on the site. Per AMD's 50x15.com site stats, there are approximately 6.75 billion people worldwide, of which approximately 1.68 billion use the Internet. That's roughly 25% of the world population. Of that 25%, 300 million are Facebook users (assuming they each have only one account...yeah right). That's about 18% of the total worldwide Internet users.

So, if we assume the global Internet usage doesn't increase, there are still plenty of people not using Facebook. They may arguably be using other sites, but I'd argue just like me and you, they each have an account on every one of these sites.

Though there may not be a 100% of social media adoption by all Internet users (especially with the elderly or those in third world countries with limited time on the Internet), likely there's plenty of room for this "bubble" to grow.



That's all good and fine, but I'm curious what you think. Are we experiencing a social media bubble? If so, is it close to bursting? And even if bursts, what does it mean to have a social media bubble and what would be the effect of the burst?