When it comes to social media usage stats, African countries usually fly below the radar. However, Africa’s southern most nation, South Africa currently ranks number 29th on Facebook’s global user list, and demonstrates a number of similarities with much larger using countries.
The recent South African Friendship 2.0 survey found that the average South African Facebook user is in their 30’s, employed full time, and describe themselves as sociable and outgoing. The survey sampled South Africans aged 16 years or older.
With a massive 82 percent, Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in South Africa. Again, South Africa ranks number 29 on Facebook’s global usage statistics (by country), and has an estimated 2.6 million users per month that generate over 1.1 billion page views. Over half of Facebooking South Africans access the site via their mobile devices, 1.58 million. To put this in perspective, of those surveyed, only 18 percent responded that they have a MySpace profile.
From here, popularity numbers make a steep decline. While not specifically a social networking site, YouTube take the number 2 spot for South Africans, garnering a 32 percent response rate, South African mobile IM service MXit taking 29 percent, with Twitter landing a close 28 percent.
South African broadband services provider, and sponsor of the survey MWeb Connect’s general manager Carolyn Holgate comments, “Social networks have become the garden fence of the 21st century and are used for the same purposes as community meeting places. We’re at the end of the early adoption phase, which was dominated by young people, and social networking is now a mainstream activity enjoyed and used by all age groups, particularly those in their 30s.”
Additional findings from the Friendship 2.0 survey:
- 74% go online specifically to visit social networking sites
- 74% access Facebook at least once a day
- 25% of participants have met more friends online than they have in real life
- 24% have gone on a face-to-face date with someone they met online
- 36% have used a pseudonym on-line
- 36% have used the Internet to find out what a past partner is doing
- 21% have experienced a breach of their privacy on the Internet
- 16% use social platforms to promote their business
- 37% believe they spend too much time online
There’s no arguing that 2009 was a banner year for online social networking platforms. Obviously, the big players in the field, Facebook and Twitter, saw a healthy increase in user activity. A new report from eMarketer might just point to the reason why: Baby Boomers went from online consumers of digital media to social busy-bees.
The report analyzes 4 unique market segments, Millenials (14-26), Gen X (27-43), Baby Boomers (44-63) and Mature (63-75). Not surprisingly, both Millenials and Gen X ‘ers (myself included) have maintained consistently high levels of social media profiles over the past three years. Conversely, Baby Boomers and Matures saw a massive growth rate in 2009.
Looking at the numbers, 31 percent of Baby Boomers and 14 percent of Matures actively attended to (i.e. status updates, photo uploads, etc.) their profiles in 2008, while one year later, these numbers have seen a significant jump: 46 percent and 36 percent, respectively, in 2009.
With data drawn from both comScore and Anderson Analytics, Facebook came out on top as the primary social network used by Baby Boomers. MySpace took second place, but appears to be more popular with younger users (ed: still?). Third and fourth place went to Twitter and LinkedIn.
“Creating and renewing personal connections online is the biggest draw for these boomers,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, Boomers and Social Media. “Boomers expect that technology will help them live longer and better lives and keep them connected to family, friends, co-workers and, eventually, healthcare providers.”
What is, and should be, of interest to marketers is how this growth has scaled, and what or how do we target this influx of a completely different demographic? Targeted advertising immediately comes to mind, but my guess is that there are a number of opportunities waiting to be mined with this new information. Social/Casual gaming has been a major driver of social network use in the ‘younger’ set – is there a way to replicate this same success for an ‘older’ demographic? A recent study by Q Interactive points to the fact that female gamers make up a sizable portion of all social games played, AND that they’re brand engaged, loyal consumers. My guess is that over the course of 2010 we’ll see a new breed of applications, games, tools, etc. appearing on social networks that will try to appeal to this new-comer demographic.
TexMex restaurant chain Chevys recently launched a widget based holiday flash game that seeks to engage customers and entice them through the door with a special holiday offer.
Working as a Social Media consultant, I spend lots of time talking to company and business owners about what Social Media is, what it can do for their company, and how to use it. Needless to say, when a major restaurant chain breaks the mold and reaches out to customers in new and innovative ways, well…it just makes me jump for joy.
Thanks to clearspring, the widget is embeddable on any blog, web site, or social networking profile, with the top three traffic drivers winning a party valued at $500. It features a “Mexican jumping bean” flash based game, Chevys Fresh Mex recipes, a store locator (including local taxi information), Chevys recipes, and holiday gift cards. When users make a gift card purchase through the Compadre widget they automatically receive a $10 credit towards their next meal with a $50 purchase.
This is really an outstanding example of not only engaging users via social media, but following through on the deal with an added value (the $10 off). I’ve got to hand it to the folks at Chevys – tossing the local taxi information in there is really quite genius. By providing this info Chevys is keeping the user actively involved with the widget, rather than sending you out to look for it yourself, thereby further increasing your likelihood to follow through on your initial, hmmm…I’m kinda hungry, where should I have lunch…thought process. Likewise with the recipes. Do YOU know how to make Flan? Me neither – but thanks to Chevys widget, you’re no further than a click away from a recipe even my ‘I have no skills in the kitchen’ brain can follow. That and they’ve also got you back to home base: the Chevys website, further increasing your likelihood to visit the restaurant in the near future.
And now for the cons. While I applaud Chevys venture into the Social Media space, given the time and money spent on the development of this widget, it’s almost pointless. The features are great, but the meat and potatoes of the widget, the actual game, is completely crap. How long did you bother to keep those beans in the air? 15 seconds? 20? Right. Given the runaway success of Tower Defense flash based games, I’m really quite surprised to not see Chevys go down this line. Perhaps they might have been better off consulting a Social Media Consultant with Video Game Inudstry Experience?
Rosemary Doody, Director of Marketing for Chevys Fresh Mex comments, “It’s no surprise that consumers are actively seeking value and discounts during the holidays and according to a recent social media study, 93% of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media. This new and exciting medium gives Chevys a great way to engage with our current guests and attract new ones. Chevys has one of the most competitive holiday gift card offers in the industry. We want consumers to be aware of that. Combined with the opportunity for three online users to win a party valued at $500, consumers will find The Compadre widget fun, engaging and a tremendous holiday value.”
Amen Rosemary. The Chevys Compadre widget arrives just in time to pump it full of holiday gift card value and a great example of large companies engaging in the use of Social Media. It’s a win-win situation all around.
Are you the über cool one who bogarts other’s lighters, had the iPod before Steve Jobs, and knows just about every cool site on the internets? Yeah me neither. But what I do have is an excellent list of the Top 100 undiscovered sites of 2008 recently round up at PC Mag on my hands.
Not just a simple directory, editors really dug deep for some of these gems, and the results are outstanding. I decided to give each one of these sites a fair go, and devoted a minimum of 20 minutes/site and then select a category winner. Categories include: Apps and Services, Fun, Health and Science, Info, Search and Reference, Lifestyle, Money and Real Estate, Music, News, Photography, Shopping, Social Networking, Technology, and Travel and Maps.
Without further dieu….the winners please!
Apps and Services
Here’s a really nice, all in one (er). To sum it all up, pageonce will wrap an enigma inside a riddle inside a….no wait…that’s for another topic altogether. Pageonce is a one stop shop to manage all your online profiles. Feed it your info, and this baby will present you with your stock portfolio results, myspace updates, facebook pokes, and youtube subscription updates. Oh, and it looks mighty slick on an iPhone as well. Finally…I just saved at least 17.6 minutes of wasted office time with this baby. Be that good or bad.
I’ve personally used this one before finding this collection, and it validated my cool factor (ok, I haven’t yet obtained über level, but I do get points for have the two dot umlaut over the u, no?). We’ve all received the ecard from someone, or better yet, forgot her birthday with that “oh crap…i know…send an ecard,” moment. Well now someecards will let you send just the right card for just the right occassion.
Health and Science
From a pure practical point of view, this might be the winner of the collection. In NYC for business and need a doc asap? Maybe you’ve moved out to the island and need to do the necessaries, including finding a new doctor. Zocdoc to the rescue. Using a mashup of google maps, zocdoc lets you search for doctors and dentists by insurance plan, location, or even available appointments. Zocdoc also features user reviews of doctors. While zocdoc only works in the greater New York metro area for now, here’s to hoping this brilliant idea spreads like the plague (Oh wait….plagues are bad….mmmmmkay?)
Info, Search and Reference
If you know me, you know I like it clean (have I said too much?). As George Carlin says said, “A house is nothing more than a place to keep your stuff,” and chances are, you’ve got stuff. So why not keep it clean? In addition to the standards of LCD screens, White wall tires, and golf balls, howtocleanstuff also has methods of de-skunking, both human and animal, and features perhaps the best post on the internets ever: How to Polish a Turd
Ok, score another one on my cool chart, as I knew about this one as well. To be fair, I can’t take credit on this one, as Brian has sent me a few links from here that truly boggled my mind. Not only is inhabitat an outstanding example of what web design could and should look like, they stay true to the golden rule, and deliver fresh, relevant, and in depth coverage of all things ‘OMFG, r u srus?’. I’m not even sure if you’re cool enough to read about what they write about here. Go visit them. Now. Do it!
Money and Real Estate
First off, great URL (I can only wonder what they paid for it). Stockhouse is for the pro investor AND the plain ol’ Joe that’s workin’ on gettin’ that boat when he retires. It’s also an information source for the financial world. The site functions as a quasi investment portal/social networking tool. Users can track stock prices, swap trading tips and advice, and make connections with other investors for possible joint ventures. Ah…the power of social networking…monetized (of sorts).
You can get music on the internets? Ok, all kidding aside, music and video are two of the highest ranking search terms on the net today. When wading through the mp3 sea, there are bound to be a few choppy waves, and certainly a tropical island unto it self. Enter songza.com. While last.fm will let you select an artist and then generate a related playlist, songza lets you narrow that search down one further and stream the actual song you want to hear (by that artist). Legal? Pssssshh….who knows, let’s not ask, eh?
Ok…citizen journalism, nothing new to see here people, move along. Unless of course, YOU wrote an artilce that got published on orato.com. One of the better of it’s brand out there, orato covers a wide range of topics, and get outta town, some of them are actually f#&*ing awesome!
A rather difficult choice for me as my love of all things damn good lookin’ runs deep, but squareamerica struck a particualr chord. Perhaps it’s my current fascination with Madmen, and the behind the scenes look at 1960 America, but squareamerica is the web/photographic equivalent. Featuring mostly black and white photos of yesteryear, viewers are presented with an interesting cross section of times gone by. Uncle George and Aunt Minnie on the boat, Clara opening that big present on christmas morning, and every so often, the Kodachrome splendor of Uncle Don’s shiny new car. Squareamerica.com, go over to songza.com, pull up ‘Moon River’ and start flipping.
*cough* early adopters regret *cough* Did you hear something? For those people, unlike myself of course, that may be a bit trigger happy with the credit card when it comes to all things gadgety, I give you…gazelle.com. Not that I would have any experience in the realm of bought it last month, and two months later they came out with the magnesium bodied one that has the remote lens feature, gazelle is a selling point for all your previous silicon wafer goodness. Plunk in the make and model of said gadget, and you’ll bet a price quote on the spot (or rather almost instantly, as there is no real physical ‘spot’). You’ll get a return box sent to you in the mail, pack it, ship it, call it sold. Gazelle accepts cameras, laptops, mp3 players, mobile phone and much more.
Is this thing on? Social networking has been the largest growth sector of the….bla bla bla. I know what you’re thinking, christ, another social networking site? I’m ripping my hair out already. I know, I know. Calm down, and have some dip. While sosauce IS a definate niche site, the concept and interactivity are outstanding. Sosauce is a travel and photo enthusiasts dream come true. If this had been around during my ‘tour’ days this would have been…then again, perhaps it’s better some of those pictures never see the light of day. While most social networks are built on a profle-based mechanism, sosauce is clearly about showing off sharing your photos and travel experiences. Users can interact with others, create travel plans together, schedule meet ups, and even play multiplayer games online together during ‘down time’ (read: flight delay)
Technology and humor? Get out. No really, such a thing exists. Technology is a huge field, and yeah, you’re probably thinking, Gizmodo v Techcrunch v Mashable v who gives a f#*(&? Fair enough, with an overly saturated market of ‘gizmo’ blogs, just another entry wouldn’t break more wind than a fart in church. But what about frontpage coverage about mp3 players devoted to Journey? Or Louis Vuitton trash bags? The KOR ONE hydration module (sounds alot like water bottle to me) is a must see!
Travel and Maps
Google maps and Earth are hot shit. No joke, they’re the industry standard in online mapping. But what if you’re cool with where your hotel is, the street view looks nice, you’ve cross checked your room and counted floors in the pic, and pretty much know where your room will be? You still have no idea what the hotel looks like on the inside (hotel website photos don’t count). everyscape takes you right inside the building. As with the Google project, lots of photogs are snapping shutters everywhere as the database begins to grow. Let’s just hope they catch some of the silliness that Mountain View’s boys caught.
So there we have it. Creme de la creme. A great collection of 2008 up and comers. Now stop reading this and get clicking above!