The Myspace Report – Never Ending Friending

The Myspace Report – Never Ending Friending:

Today, Myspace released a snazzy market intelligence report (PDF download) to some of its top media clients. Forbes’ Rachel Rosmarin has the most-blogged coverage, though I’ve seen many media outlets covering the press release as well.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – this survey was constructed to glorify Myspace, which is actually not that hard of a thing to do. That said, I didn’t find any major red flags – I actually found it somewhat interesting (as long as you take it for what it is). Here are two nuggets I enjoyed.

The first question examines the effect of social networking on alternative media consumption. Assuming a margin of error of 3.5%, there are significant negative effects for video games, but significant positive effects for the internet, email (weird? possible misleading wording leading to conflation of ‘messaging’ with email), IM and cell phone (also a little surprising, seems spurious). Put simply, this means that social networking leads us away from a solitary activity like video games, but it makes us engage more with social technologies such as a cell phone.

I’m most interested in the significant negative effect for video games. Assuming that most video game play is not a social experience (in gross hours played), it is interesting to see social engagement winning out over non-social engagement (in the time-wasting space). Not that this is surprising, but, cool to see.

This is reinforced by another question “If you had 15 minutes of time, which activity would you most like to do.” This was interesting to me because I think it illustrates our complicated relationship with social networks (especially Myspace). Again, assuming a 3.5% margin of error, social networking is significantly preferrable to video games, IM, and listening to an MP3 player or the radio (mostly solitary experiences, exception IM). It is not significantly preferable to chatting on a cell phone, generally surfing, or watching TV. With the exception of TV, which is a pseudo-social experience, those other experiences were social.

Let’s not demean the value of social networking – I think it’s incredible that social networks are as favored a time waster as TV or talking on a cell phone. I just think that we’re seeing a canary in a cave mine here – given a choice, we are ultimately more interested in engaging in social experiences in our time wasting than non-social experiences. We’re social beings, and the technologies we use allow this engagement – and we prefer them.

If I were a marketer reading the tea leaves from this report, I’d pay very close attention to the value of social engagement. As technology allows us to interact with each other, we’re seeing a halo effect carrying over to other social technologies. Myspace (and social networking) is currently the most important place because it enables social serendipity, but there are certainly other innovative ways to spread the effects of a social networking campaign to other media.

Download the report here.

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1 Comment »

  1. Christina Tran said

    It is a broken link to view the Never Ending Friending – A Journey into Social Networking, report.

    Please send a copy of the pdf to me at christina.tran@mccann.com

    Thank You.

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