Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me

Social Networking Sites/ Photo Courtesy of Yahoo! Images

Social Networking Sites/ Photo Courtesy of Yahoo! Images/educatednation.com

The phenomenon of online social networking—often dismissed as yet another over-hyped fad—had something of a surprise coming-of-age party just hours after Iran held its presidential election last June.  The widely disputed results of that election triggered an ensuing wave of public indignation, angry street protests and general chaos that the embattled regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still trying to suppress.

They probably would have succeeded with relative ease had it not been for something entirely unexpected. After foreign journalists were basically barred from reporting and escorted to the border, the government of Iran suddenly encountered a voice it couldn’t expel or suppress.  Social networking sites—including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Digg and LinkedIn—continued to operate freely; disseminating and exchanging news, information and videos even as they became online rallying points for people on both sides of the oft-violent confrontations.  It was at this precise moment in history that these sites proved without a doubt that their technologies had not only ignited a worldwide revolution in communications but also had the ability to provide a platform for free speech wherever it is being squelched.  Twitter, which was about to shut down for scheduled maintenance, was petitioned by the State Department to remain fully operational throughout the crisis to allow Iranian “tweets” to be viewed in real time by an anxious world.

If you still think social networking is destined to dissolve like a pet rock, consider the following statistics that were conveyed just recently in a compelling online video which can be viewed at the bottom of this post.

  • By 2010, Generation Y (the group born between the late 1970’s and early 1990’s) will outnumber Baby Boomers.
  • 96% of them have joined an online social network.
  • One out of eight couples married in the U.S. last year met via online social media.
  • Facebook alone added 100 million users in less than nine months.  Its fastest growing segment is females 55-65 years old.
  • If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 4th largest.
  • QZone, a social networking site in China, is even larger; with over 300 million users.
  • More than 1.5 million pieces of content—web links, news stories, blog posts, photos, etc.—are shared on Facebook daily.
  • 80% of all companies use LinkedIn as a primary tool to recruit new employees.
  • Generation Y and Z (the group born since the early 1990’s) consider e-mail passé.
  • In 2009 Boston College stopped assigning e-mail addresses to incoming freshmen.
  • The second largest search engine in the world is YouTube.
  • Wikipedia has over 13 million articles; with studies showing it is more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • If you were paid one dollar for each time an article is posted on Wikipedia you would earn $156.23 per hour.
  • There are over 200,000,000 blogs.
  • 54% of bloggers post content (or tweet) daily.
  • 25% of search results for the world’s Top 20 largest brands are linked to user-generated content.
  • 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands.
  • 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices.  People update anywhere and at anytime.  (Imagine what that could mean in the aftermath of a bad customer service experience.)
  • People care more about how their “social graph” (or network of friends) ranks products and services than how Google ranks them.
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations.
  • Only 14% trust advertisements.
  • Hulu, an online video service, has grown from 63 million total video streams in April 2008 to 373 million in April 2009.
  • 25% of Americans in the past month said they watched a short video.  On their phone.
  • 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation because we no longer search for news.  The news finds us.
  • In the near future we will no longer search for products or services.  They too will find us.

It might have seemed so at first, but social media isn’t a fad.  Rather, it’s a seismic shift in the way we communicate, conduct business, live our lives; and learn about the products and services that interest us most—from the people we trust the most.  Friends, family and colleagues.

The internet—and social networking by extension—has profoundly affected how real estate is transacted, with virtually every buyer using some application of the web as a primary search tool before an agent is ever contacted.   Because of the medium’s inherent qualities of sight, sound and motion—not to mention our ability to post reams of other useful information on it—we have a solid history of selling homes on the web sight unseen before their buyers ever have the opportunity to say yes in person.  They are never disappointed.  Before they actually get here they have seen the property from every angle, learned about the neighborhood, schools, nearby shopping, dining, recreation; and just about everything else it takes to make an opportunity not worth losing for the time it takes to get here.

The possibilities of social networking are endless.  We doubt if anyone has it all figured out yet.  But this much we do know.  The agents of Michael Saunders & Company will remain invested of more knowledge of interactive marketing, better trained in its best practices; and more adept at using the internet’s ramped-up ability to sell residential and commercial properties—or indeed bring more buyers into the fold—than any other company in Southwest Florida. Whatever new revolutions are destined to come our way—market-wise and technologically speaking—you can bet they won’t start without us leading the way.

(Video Provided by YouTube.com)

  • User Gravatar Adam
    August 26th, 2009

    I love that report you started with. It’s amazing how insurpressable information is now.
    Adam @Advent Creative Web Design

  • User Gravatar Jane Kelly
    August 27th, 2009


  • User Gravatar Jordan
    August 30th, 2009

    what happened in Iran is an “information leak”, same thing happened five hundred years ago with the invention of the printing press. With information comes revolution.

  • User Gravatar Diana Fischer
    August 30th, 2009

    Really like the statistics.

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