I’ve started to get a bit numb to the huge number of stats regularly thrown about regarding the use of social media. Yes, I am impressed at the growth and the impact of the social web just like most others, but it’s gotten more than a bit concerning recently. First, I’m concerned that the hype surrounds the statistics themselves, not the impact of the tools. Second, the numbers have become just too big to be relevant to at a personal level – and personal is the glue that holds all things social together.
I’ve written about social media hype before, and I’m going to talk more about it in a future post, but here I wanted to share just a few thoughts about the numbers.
The media coverage of social technologies lately has been something like “300 million this,” “1 billion that,” and “4th largest country.” The numbers have become too large to be relevant to the individual user, but music to the ears of a spammer.
Telling me 300 million people are doing whatever may be something I find interesting. Telling me 100,000 people share my interest in a topic will grab my attention. Telling me 1,000 people enjoy my favorite past-time every day is intriguing… But telling me 5 of my friends are doing something will make me move.
While we don’t have a tool (yet) to break down online activity by topic in this way, I came across this great counter that does help to make the numbers a bit more manageable. By making the counter start at zero, users can get a sense of the speed of conversation, instead of just the volume.
Thanks to http://personalizemedia.com for making such an awesome tool embeddable.