The latest Forrester Social Technographics studyhas thrown up some surprising insights into the way that people’s social technology behavior is changing. Most notably the fact that the number of creators – people who publish blogs, write articles, create videos and music – has started plateauing off. And this is not only happening in the US but around the world.
Augie Ray of Forrester offers this explanation (Why are Social Behaviors Plateauing?):
The reasons span things as complex as human nature and as simple as Web site usability. For example, is it sensible to believe that Creator behavior will ever be universal? Not every person has a burning need to be a reporter, an industry expert, a videographer, a musician, a thought leader, an editor or a broadcaster. The fact that over 1 in 5 online adults in the US are exhibiting Creator behavior is a testament to how social technologies have lowered the bar, since these tools have allowed more people to create and distribute their ideas, opinions and creations than was ever possible in the past.
Human nature changes gradually, so further growth in Creator behavior will come much more slowly than in the past.
The other reason could have something to do with the diffusion of innovation. Forrester started to track the social technology usage behavior back in 2007. By then most innovators and early adopters were already part of the social application landscape and joining in fast. So the number of creators would have been seen increasing year-on-year. But in the last year or so these social applications have spread far and wide in terms of the user base and geographic penetration.
With more and more lurkers and “spectators” joining these social services, the proportion of creators within the whole is certain to decline. Or at least grow slowly. By definition anything social will evolve over time. As more and more people become part of the fabric there will be a lot more movement as spectators become creators and creators become critics and so on. Only joiners will keep on increasing.
[image: Flickr/Alice Popkorn]