You don’t need statistics to tell you that “our world” of social media tools like Twitter, Friendfeed, and RSS has yet to reach mainstream.
Just survey your friends or take a look at who you socialize with the most online. I’m willing to bet my next blog post that at least 60% of the users of social media socialize with people that are not necessarily real life friends more than anyone else when online. I also bet that over 50% don’t have family members or real life friends that use these services, and for those that do, it’s because you badgered them into it or signed them up for it.
Will Friendfeed, Twitter, and RSS Ever Reach Mainstream?
Who knows? I don’t see Friendfeed doing it, but I’ve noticed SocialThing!, a similar service, breaking grounds with the mainstream masses.
Twitter and RSS will reach mainstream, but I don’t see these services being used in the manner that early adopters are using them. In an attempt to explain RSS to a friend, I told her that RSS is an easy way to get updates about a website instead of having to visit the website all the time. Her reply made me laugh my head off, “So, can I get RSS for Victoria’s Secret?”.
My friend wasn’t thinking in terms of blogs or updates about news, because that’s not what she goes online for. Most mainstream internet users don’t go online for such things. They have the TV, Facebook, and text messaging for that.
Statistics Count For Something
Let’s briefly turn to statistics. Marshall Kirkpatrick of Read/Write Web sent me some stats on the traffic between SocialThing! vs Friendfeed using Compete’s site analytics web tool.
Stats provided by Compete.com
Friendfeed, is more popular, but the tricky part of statistics is you don’t know who the users are. Are more early adopters using Friendfeed or SocialThing!? Are more mainstream web users using SocialThing! or Friendfeed? Did you notice the spike with SocialThing!’s monthly visitors?
I turned to a private forum that a friend of mine started to begin finding answers to my questions. The forum consists of tech-savvy women, that use the web the way a mainstream web user would. Around 3 users – myself included – use FriendFeed, while over 9 use SocialThing. To quote one of the ladies on the forum:
Side note: There’s a similar service called FriendFeed (Corvy [Corvida] uses it a lot so I’m sure she can tell you more about it) that supports a ton more services, however, for me, SocialThing is more intuitive. When you add applications, it knows who your friends are already, whereas with Friendfeed, I believe you have to add others who also have a Friendfeed account. With SocialThing it keeps track of all your friends, regardless of if they are also on Socialthing.
While you can use the “imaginary friend” feature on Friendfeed to follow others, it would be much simpler to use SocialThing! instead of going through the hassle of setting up “imaginary friends”.
Are the Masses Ready?
Maybe the masses aren’t ready for these platforms, though this is a premature take on things since these services are still early adopter tools more than anything. They all have the potential to go mainstream, but there’s a lot of work to be done. We’re still in our own bubble. Or are we?