Social behaviors are shifting

A report from Forrester also finds that behaviors online are shifting-

The executive summary states (verbatim):

While social technology behaviors are at the center of many strategy discussions around the globe, the focus should be on the changes in consumers’ adoption of these behaviors. Consumers continue to sign up for and interact on social networking sites, but other social behaviors that require creating content have seen no substantial growth in adoption since 2009. In fact, some behaviors have experienced attrition. In metropolitan China, for example, Joiners saw an increase of 18%, while Creators decreased by 3%. This report uses the Social Technographics® Profile system to examine global changes in consumers’ adoption of social technologies.

Human nature changes gradually, so further growth in Creator behavior will come much more slowly than in the past.  This will cause marketers and those who produce social tools to focus more on how social content is consumed rather than how it is produced.  In fact, there is already evidence of this trend—look at Twitter’s new Web interface, which doesn’t change how people tweet but instead makes it significantly easier to consume others’ tweets. Look for other social tools to follow suit, offering new ways to make tweets, blog posts, product ratings and other social content easier to find, read, use, save and share.

There is one behavior that is not plateauing, nor is it likely to stop growing for some time: Joiners.  These are people who maintain a social networking profile.  While growth in other behaviors have stagnated, Joiners grew again from 2009 to 2010.  As social media has become a major communication channel for many people, it becomes hard to avoid for others.  Even those with no intent to share continue to join so they can keep in touch with friends, children and grandchildren. Today, avoiding social networks is about as easy to do as avoiding email—it’s possible, but it comes at a substantial cost in terms of relationships and knowledge.