Social Media in 2011

2011 has been a pretty big year in terms of social media.

We’ve seen new social networks appear and flourish like Quora, Google+ and Pinterest. We’ve seen big changes in some of the major social networks like Facebook’s Timeline, a running history of your online life, and Twitter taking a more strategic role as to how people are using the network and how they can start to generate revenue from it.

As well, we’ve seen a large uptake in the use of social media, both from the general public and from businesses with some pretty cool results. With all that said, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at how people talked about “social media” in 2011 using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software.

Going back to January 1st of this year and searching for the terms “social media,” “socialmedia” and “#sm” I pulled up some general stats around all the social media chatter this year. For 2011 I found social media mentioned in 2.2 million blog posts, 1.4 online news articles, 295,354 forum posts and 12.1 million tweets.

Trended out over time, talk of social media for the year looks like the chart below. Twitter of course dominates because of it’s quick and easy to use nature. It’s interesting to note that blogs and online news about social media seem to follow in a very similar pattern. I also did a little extra digging into the largest spike on the chart around, June 30th. It turns out that June 30th was Mashable’s Social Media Day, so there was even more chatter that day using the words “social media.”

Next I took a look at where all the talk was coming from. The following chart represents all social media talk across all the channels we cover combine. We can see that the USA controlled a large portion of the conversation at 56.8%. The UK was the second largest producer of social media talk about social media with 16.3% and Canada came in third 5.7%.

I then dug a little deeper into two main social media channels to look a little closer at the demographics. When I looked at just blogs, I found the USA still lead in conversation about social media, but this time they only accounted for 47%. Here again we also see the UK with the second most conversation (11.4%) and Canada rounding up third (6.0%). We can also see that the “other” category accounts for a lot more in blogs by making up 21.5%, which means that blogs everywhere seemed to be talking a lot about social media this year.

So, just who was doing all this blogging about social media? I first looked into the gender breakdown. It turns out males account for 60% and females for 40%. While not even, I think that those numbers are fairly close considering the amount of blogs about social media we saw this year.

Something I found interesting was when I looked into the age of the bloggers. While most people think that social media is for the younger generation, I found that the age group that blogged most about social media was those aged 36-50 years old with 37.5%. Bloggers aged 21-35 came in second with 33.3%. Those aged 51 and over made up 25%, while the youngest set, 20 and under only accounted for 4.1%.

Next I look at the industries that were blogging about social media throughout 2011. A little surprising, but education blogs actually held the greatest amount of conversation with 17.3%. The second most amount of social media conversation came from blogs in the communications and public relations field at 15.2%. The thrid place spot was tied between marketing blogs and those focused on the internet with 8.6% each.

I then headed over to Twitter. Here I found the same pattern in terms of who was talking about social media by geographical location. The US made up 49.7% of the conversation, while the UK followed8.3% and Canada coming in third with 5.5%.

The gender of Twitter users talking abut social media seemed to be a bit more split however. On Twitter males accounted for 64% of people talking about social media while the females made up the other 36%.

Lastly, I headed back to take a big picture look at what people were actually talking about when they were talking about social media. Pulling up a word cloud that spans all social channels it seems that business seemed to dominate the conversation about social media for 2011. We can see that words like “business” and “marketing” seem to be some of the largest words in the cloud meaning they came up the most. We can also see that “Facebook” and “Twitter” seemed to be the the two social networks that were talked about the most (which isn’t very surprising as they’re the two most adopted networks).

So how was your 2011 in terms of social media? What were your highlights? Let downs? Lessons learned? Let us know in the comments.

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