Facts Behind the Social Media Revolution


By web gangsta | Published:

Web Watch hopes that sometime over the past month, you have seen this video, entitled SOCIAL MEDIA REVOLUTION, asking if social media (such as Twitter or Facebook) or other electronic transactions are here to stay, or just a fad.

Looking at the statistics we saw earlier, Twitter is still bordering on fad.

If you haven’t seen it, or simply want to watch it again, here it is:

httpv://www.youtube.com/v/sIFYPQjYhv8

The video was created by Erik Qualman, who is a Global Vice President of Online Marketing for an international company as well as the author of the new book SOCIALNOMICS, which takes a look at how social media has changed how we live and work.

When the video was released, undoubtedly as a promotional device for Socialnomics, it was generally well received. And deservedly so.  It’s slick and well-packaged, and offers believable information in bite-sized (byte-sized?) chunks.  Web Watch has watched it a number of times over the past few weeks, catching something worth noting and following up on with each viewing.

But Web Watch tends to be skeptical about things that we find online that appear to be too good to be true, and doesn’t always take these types of presentations at face value… even if the presenter is someone with Mr Qualman’s background and pedigree.

Why?  Because the presentation itself – especially as it was released in advance of the book – had no notes readily available to back up the claims that were being made.  On casual observation, Web Watch thought some of the stats were a bit… off.

They could be accurate.

They probably were accurate.

We just wanted to be sure before we forwarded it along to others.

Luckily, Mr Qualman has provided the footnotes for the statistics presented in the video.  Worth mentioning are that of the 35 footnotes presented:

  • 6 were either specifically uncited or opinion
  • 6 were not specified beyond just the name of the originating source (ie no link or other helpful tracking info provided)
  • And at least one reference was slightly outdated by about a year.  Not exactly as current as it could be.

More interesting are the comments that cynical stats-minded folks have made in response to the video, doing further analysis of the presented stats.  Some comments point out:

  • specific data misrepresentations (ex: not specifying that “Gen Y” refers only to Gen Y that are already online)
  • some of the facts may have been distorted slightly to present a better point-of-view for the video (ex: online learning is good, but should be included with face-to-face learning for best results)
  • some bits of information – when tracked down to where the data originated from – may have been skewed along the way before making it into the video (ex: the cited source quotes Reuters, which leaves out information from the original data provider that would have made the video’s statement very different)

Even with these criticisms, his video makes some great points that marketers and other Internet-related folks should pay attention to as it summarizes where social media is seemingly heading.  Luckily, Mr Qualman took these criticisms in stride, and happily accepted the social media commentary and feedback that his video generated. He says that he is well on his way in creating a new, improved, and updated version of the video.

Web Watch is looking forward to reading the book as well as seeing what updates Mr Qualman makes to the video based on all the feedback he has received thus far. If nothing else, he has created a groundswell of interest and gotten people excited about social media who may not have been interested before (Web Watch can tell they’re excited just by the number of emails and tweets we received from people telling us to watch the video when it was first released).

As others have said in different context: believe what you want, but do your own research to back up what you hear.  Remember, 93% of all statistics you hear about are useful… but it’s the other 10% that you have to worry about.