Social networks: news organizations ignore them at their peril

PLEASE NOTE: My new blogging home is now at the Nieman Journalism Lab. I’ll continue to update this site for the time being with the introductory portion of my posts, but to read the whole thing, you’ll have to head over to the Nieman site!

On the heels of my post the other day on building social networks around news (in which I mentioned that more than 90 percent of newspapers still have no social networking in their business model) here’s some information from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that that makes it clear why, in largely ignoring social networking, the newspaper industry is missing the boat:

The share of adult internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years — from 8% in 2005 to 35% now, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s December 2008 tracking survey.

By age group, the survey found that in 2008:

  • 75% of online adults 18-24 have a profile on a social network site
  • 57% of online adults 25-34 have a profile on a social network
  • 30% of online adults 35-44 have one
  • 19% of online 45 to 54 year olds have a profile
  • 10% of online 55 to 64 year olds have a profile
  • 7% of online adults 65 and older have a profile

View those levels in the context of the four-year quadrupling rate, it’s clear that in another few years, virtually everyone under 45, and perhaps a majority of those older, will be active on social networks. (It’s the newspaper readership curve, upside-down.) What will they be doing and looking for on these networks, besides banter with friends?

Well, add this forecast to Pew’s findings: “10 Ways Social Media Will Change in 2009″ at ReadWriteWeb, including…

Read the rest of this post at Nieman Journalism Lab.