Dale Vile of boutique analyst house Freeform Dynamics has released raw data from a social media survey his firm conducted in September, 2007. Given the data is six months old, the patterns may have changed. However, some of the inter-relationships are worth noting. The following graphic indicates the different patterns of usage for some of the well-known technologies:
The relationships between blog/wiki writers and readers is of interest to me because one of the most common issues I bump against both anecdotally and in projects is that of engagement. Dale's data suggests that personal blog content consumers are more likely to write than their business counterparts and that business contributions run at about 25% of those who read blogs. I is surprised the ratio is as high because as we already know, business users have a broad range of concerns including the ever present: 'What's in it for me?' syndrome. Most of the projects I see more closely reflect Nielsen's 1:9:90 participation inequality rule.
On the other hand, the relationship between read/write for wikis is much closer to 50%. That doesn't surprise me. One reason give by a commenter to my SocialText piece over at Enterprise Alley:
In the scheme of things, wikis help information conveyors more effectively scale without offending those who might be left off the to:, cc: or bcc: line, and others can correct misinformation instantly rather than necessarily awaiting someone else's approval.
If you believe that wikis provide more utility to business users than say blogs then from there you might reasonably extrapolate that engaged usage begats contribution as is suggested by the data. I was surprised to see how little multi media has pentrated the business. Many people I talk with believe video has a big future in business but if the data remains current then that may be a long way off.
The demographic data suggests that the next generation of business managers are more likely to encourage contributing to social media than is the current generation. No surprise there although I would temper that to ask when the next generation will kick in as internal influencers. However, there does seem to be a problem with the overall sample age distribution profile because I would have expected to see a much lower read/write ratio among older people than that recorded.
While Dale acknowledges things may have changed, as a first stab at reading the social media runes, this study provides some interesting insights that should provoke further thinking about who is using what. In future studies, I would for example like to know about respondent job profiles to get a feel for the types of people who are contributing to these media. I'd also like more qualitative data about the utility users get from these tools.