Hey Chatterbox: Report Sets Sites On Social Media Mavens
"Conversationalist" could become the next important target for marketers looking to connect with consumers. A Forrester Research study released Tuesday shows that one in every three online Americans is a "Conversationalist," someone who updates their status on a social networking site such as Facebook or posts updates on Twitter at least once weekly.
Conversationalists are younger than the average adult consumer -- 56% female, with household incomes slightly above average and more likely than other social classifications to hold a college degree.
And they're not just young people. Seventy percent are ages 30 or older. In fact, 36% are 18 to 29; 37% are 30 to 43; 14% are 44 to 53; 9% are 54 to 64; and 4% are 65 and older.
Age has become less of an important factor. The day has come when grandma searches the Internet for goods and services, and now she's making her way to social networks, says Josh Bernoff, senior vice president at Forrester Research.
While the average Conversationalist is eight years younger than the average online adult, two-thirds of Conversationalists are older than 29, and one-fourth are older than 44. Conversationalists tend to sit between Creators and Critics.
Where the Creators publish a blog or Web pages, and upload videos and music they created, Critics post ratings and reviews of products and services, comment on someone else's blog, or contribute to online forums and edit articles in a wiki.
Only about 17% of U.S. adults don't participate in online social media, and 59% of online consumers participate in social networks about once monthly.
Overall, people have become more willing to share personal information. "I don't think it's a carefully considered decision to share information," Bernoff says. "People just get sucked in."
Bernoff, the lead author for the report "Introducing The New Social Technographics," attributes the increase to friends inviting friends to participate in social networks, and the news media's attention. After the twelfth article read that mentions Twitter, people might want to go and try the service, he says.
Older adults have begun to adopt social networks at a much more rapid pace. Age had historically been the best predictor for whether people participate in social activities. The younger the age, the more likely they will participate. This is not the case any longer.
Young people are still the most active, but all age groups are participating. Bernoff says the best marketers can do is look at the frequency with which people update their status, rather than classify someone by age.
And while participation in social networks continues to rise, chatter in discussion forums has begun to decline. People are moving the conversation into social media and out of traditional forums.