Impossible to Ignore

In a New York Times article reporting on Forrester Research stats, the reporter writes, “Time waster or not, social media are a phenomemon that is now nearly impossible to ignore.”

I agree, but would drop the ‘nearly’ from the comment.  The Forrester stats show 50% of adults visiting social network sites at least monthly.  In my world, the number is even higher.  In a show-of-hands survey in my communication course that just started at SFSU, that number was 100%.  The social sites are a mode of communication so popular that they seem to be replacing much of the phone communication I used when I was in college.

The other Forrester stats are also interesting. Percent of adults who read blogs is 39%, contribute to forums and discussion groups is 23%, review products or services 19%, listen to podcasts 16%, publish, maintain or update a blog 12%, use RSS feeds 9%, and contribute to article in a WIKI 5%.

The contributing content side of these stats are telling of a cultural communication shift.  In my SFSU classroom, other than social networking, the number of students who contribute online is relatively low (10%).  But it is the increase in contributing to this ‘impossible to ignore’ phenomenon that will have the greatest effect on change.

Sharing my traffic data

I happen to love it when I am stuck in traffic and I can see just how long I will be stuck by looking at Google Maps on my iPhone.  Therefore I am more that willing to share my data back with the rest of you who may also be stuck.  Google is now offering arterial traffic data.
The trick is, the data is coming from you and I and all the others who are using the mobile Google maps service.  As we travel, we are sending our speed and location back to Google and that is being used in aggregate to map traffic patterns.

Now some people may not like this data capturing device, and they can opt out of the feature.  But Google has privacy features that make me, and many others, feel safe in sharing our data.  For example, vehicles are anonymous and start and end points are deleted so even anonymous vehicles can’t be tracked.  I hope Google’s privacy efforts make enough of us feel secure so that there is sufficient data to make the service effective.  Then we all will be sitting in traffic less often.