From blogging to product reviews, is consumer-generated media past its prime? Well, while social network participation continues to grow, other forms of social interaction are now stable or on the wane, according to new research from Forrester.
Worldwide, every country surveyed by Forrester saw increases in the "Joiners" category -- i.e., those who are joining social networks or maintaining profiles on them.
But between 2009 and 2010, however, no national markets saw real growth in the "Creators" category. "A lack of growth in this area translates into a lack of fresh ideas, content, and perspectives," Forrester analysts Jacqueline Anderson and Josh Bernoff said in their report.
For example, one-third of online consumers in the U.S. regularly watch user-generated videos on sites like YouTube. But only 10% of U.S. online consumers upload videos they have created to public sites.
"The traits required to be a Creator are unique, and at this moment, the consumer market interested in these behaviors has plateaued," according to Anderson and Bernoff.
Worldwide, new "Critics" are not emerging in most markets. In the U.S., Europe, and metropolitan China, the percentage of Critics remained flat or declined.
Only in Japan and Australia did this group experience any real growth -- 12% and 4%, respectively.
Forrester finds that the lack of new Critics in most markets is a cause for concern, because they are responsible for posting ratings and reviews, and that customers continually find peer ratings and reviews helpful and influential in their decision-making process.
In the travel industry, for example, Forrester found that 92% of leisure travelers are more likely to book a hotel if it has a five-star rating, yet only 6% of guests post a review of their recent hotel stay.
Illustrating a demand for Creators and Critics, most markets saw an increase in Spectators -- i.e., the audience for Creators and Critics.
Forrester's report uses the Social Technographics Profile system to examine global changes in consumers' adoption of social technologies. Forrester created the Social Technographics Profile in 2007 to simplify the analysis of consumers' social technology behaviors.