The world population is approximately 7 billion with 5.6 billion on mobile phones.  Of those, only about 2.2-2.3 billion are internet users.  This means that roughly 1/7 of the world is on Facebook, and almost 50% of the people who have internet access are using Facebook.  However, it’s hard to really conceptualize how big a billion is an what it means.  Mega events like the Superbowl only garner a 10% of that  (111.3M), and even Justin Bieber’s fan page reaches a mere 4.65%. Facebook is more then 3x the USA’s population, and almost big enough to match the population of India (14.2% vs. 17% ).

This statistic is even more impressive that this is their “active” user base, so these are not empty accounts. Consider the social aspect of having 1B people “actively” sharing, creating, and remixing content. 600 million are accessing their accounts on mobile phones. Users have liked 1.18 Trillion things, checked in at 17 billion places, and shared 219 billion photos (Today Show, 10/4/2012).

Facebook is also shaping other web user experience trends such as using the social graph to expand their activity to other non-Facebook websites, social commerce, and deciding what news content get shared around the web – helping shape the media agenda.

Today’s announcement should not serve as a benchmark of size, but a wake up call to Brands and Marketers about how they approach creating sharable content and how media is syndicated across the world. With so many people out there, what models and strategies does a brand have to use to reach their potential and existing customers? Data driven models can pinpoint specific influencers and thought leaders to encourage community building and engagement.  With 1 Billion people waiting to share new refreshing content, brands must rethink content creation for a low spend / high share potential to begin to even catch up to Justin Bieber.

Facebook is no longer a social network, but a media ecosystem.  Paid, earned, owned, and shared content must be integrated into brand programming to maintain healthy communities and maintain relationships.  The real question becomes having a strategy, knowing what individuals drive a conversation around a brand, and having the right models in place to create sharable content for this new generation of fans? They are waiting, and we can help.

Special thanks to Aaron Strout & Matt Snodgrass for help with the statistics. 


US Census
The Today Show

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facebook social media wcg pr

Facebook’s integration into Apple iPhone 5’s new software (iOS 6) is a testament to how important social media has become in people’s lives. Having sharability baked in makes sharing easier then ever. The user doesn’t even have to open an app¬—he or she can share a post through Siri without having to touch the phone.

Facebook boasts a strong 955 million active monthly users, and 543 million of those are active on mobile (Facebook, June 2012). Many mobile enthusiasts will claim “yes, but I could do this before.” This is true, but having sharing built in makes it more accessible to everyone, not just the tech savvy or the over-sharing, Facebook addicted.

For clients and marketers, this marks two important milestones: the beginning of real-time communication in the social graph and the birth of transmedia storytelling/news releases.

Society has been more connected then ever for quite some time, but with mobile adoption so high, pushing notifications through Facebook messaging and posts will allow for people to stay connected in real time. This will drastically shift how marketers look at engaging with groups of people versus targeting and approaching the individual—hopefully armed with smart, contextual content.

“Transmedia storytelling” simply means that stories begin in one medium and end in another. A mobile user flowing from an email, to a mobile website, to a YouTube video, to a Facebook post is a quite common scenario. This last step of sharing was somewhat cumbersome up to this point. But now that sharing is simply a quick flick and press on the phone, engagement within mobile can be expected to shift from consumption to interaction—from passive to active. This opens up so many more opportunities for marketers and PR professionals. The devices and interfaces simply fade away to allow the content to thrive.

Some may say that the latest update to iOS 6 is simply a few more features in a long list of tech specs. But for those that have the foresight to realize and understand how this will affect the mobile future, this is a huge, empowering step in allowing individuals to move from consumers to producers, fans to ambassadors.

Patrick Donnelly, Manager, Corporate Development

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In this episode of the WCG ThoughtLeaders podcast, NextWorks Group Director Matthew Snodgrass talks with Stephan Merkens, Group Director for WCG and Patrick Donnelly, Manager of Corporate Development, about the release of the new iPhone 5 from Apple.

This latest phone iteration from Apple brought about a few significant changes for both consumers and for those companies who create software or hardware for i-devices. We discuss those updates and what they mean to you, your company, and your consumers.

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Through social media we have created complex networks that are based on trust – virtual personalized communities in a sense. Recently, the connectedness of networks and abundance of “wealth” is allowing for sharing of actual things instead of virtual content.

The days of borrowing sugar from ones neighbor are over ( you might not even know your neighbor ), but the days of borrowing cars from a random connection through your trusted network are just beginning. The dichotomy between the two views of community and sharing are quite astounding. New services like Airbnb, RelayRides, Skillshare, and TaskRabbit allow you to share things that you have extra of with your extended social graphs. If you have never heard of any of these startups, this may include lending/renting your car, your time, a skill, or your apartment to a person in your social network.

This is a big step in the evolution of Social Media. As we develop networks and relationships based on trust (actively or passively), we are rediscovering the benefits of being in a community rather then just having “friends” or “followers.” Through shared online experiences ( FB posts, video shares, etc. ) we have rediscovered this sense of citizenship and commerce in our groups. Moving from transactions, to engagement/community building, and now back to transactions. When one sees that a friend of a friend needs something, they are more willing to help them out – whether it be tips on a recipe, or maybe lending you them your vacuum. I would never lend a stranger my car, but I would think about it if the best man at my wedding vouches for him or they received a superior rating. In this sense, the social capital that each of us builds up through our networks and interactions online define a metric of trustworthiness that people use to decide on whether or not to conduct business with you – just like in the real world. Most of these networks are built out of rational need, and then they continue to grow in depth due to the emotional engagements. Ex. I really need a place to stay, which turns into I feel a connection with the person who let me stay at his place while he was away. This blend of the rational and emotional leads to stronger connections, loyalty, and increased value for both parties involved in the transaction.

For businesses, this should serve as a case study on how to engage with your community and what new business models around sharing excess value are being practiced by others.

A few questions to consider:
1. How are shared experiences online sharing experiences offline with your community?
2. What sense of trust can you establish within your network?

Patrick Donnelly, @pdonnelly01

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