In two minutes


short bursts on things I thunk.

“Marry The Crowd”



Or “epouser la foule” as Charles Baudelaire said.

A useful reminder that as a Planner you must take the good with the bad when speaking for the crowd.

As reflected on by Andrew Sullivan and Will Glovinsky following the Boston bombings and the search for suspects.

My thoughts can be found here from 42:43.


Filed under: Culture, Journalism, Media, Teh Internetz

Are Social Networks Neglecting Young Users?

snapchat guy

Forever Alone Snapchat Guy

It’s becoming clear that established social networks are losing traffic for real-time one-to-one communication, especially in younger demographics.

Services like WhatsApp, Kik and Snapchat have recognised that instant communication has been neglected and are building large user bases rapidly to accomodate.

While young people (<20) do still use Facebook in huge numbers they actually spend more time on Tumblr and could well prefer Instagram and SnapChat for sharing photos.

In fact Snapchat now carries almost a third of the daily photo volume of Facebook.

social network usage Jan, 2013

Social Network Usage, Jan 2013 (Via:

I’d suggest there’s a few reasons for this shift.

Yes, Facebook has matured rapidly and in the process has lost a bit of cachet with young users. It’s worth reading Branch founder Josh Miller’s recent interview with his 15 y.o. sister if you have doubts about this.

Anywhere Mum can reach out to you and call you home for dinner has gotta start to suck pretty hard.

Besides teens just wanna be with each other as much as possible – that’s pretty obvious.

Twitter and Facebook are also incredibly noisy. There’s a huge signal to noise difference if you have a large network on either. Aside from work I’ve spent as little time on Facebook as possible this year.

Sure I could segment friends, family and colleagues into groups and take a Diaspora approach to it but I just can’t be bothered.

Which leads to my point. Many social networks are actually inefficient for how young people want to communicate.

Screenshot from WhatsApp

What’s App Gemma?

Studies have found that we allocate around 20% of our waking day to social interaction. That is our social ‘budget’.

It follows that the more people we wish to maintain relationships with the better we must be at using that budget of time.

In fact – perhaps unsurprisingly – the emotional intensity of a relationship can be defined by the frequency of communication between two people. In this scenario the time to last contact  reflects the time and effort invested in that relationship.

So frequent one-to-one communication becomes vital for those close relationships.

Broadly speaking young people and old(er – haha) people view interpersonal communication differently.

Young people view time as expansive and energetically pursue knowledge-related goals within their network. This includes in depth conversations one-to-one that allow for learning, expression and personal growth.

Communication helps to define who they are.

Older people view time as limited and pursue emotion-related goals with reoccurring (and reassuring) themes among familiar groups of people.

Often it’s enough to know who’s been on holidays, who had their first child and what gig that guy you went to Uni with went to this week. All’s well with the world.

That is where broadcast social media services like Facebook or Twitter excel for older users but perform poorly for younger users.

They are efficient for reaching a large audience within our network but not for conveying complex and detailed information.

To have richer exchanges we have to reduce reach and increase frequency of communication within the network.

It may be that over the next few years we increasingly use social networks to maintain our maxi-network, to follow news and key life announcements but skip out and use other service to maintain our close relationships with the 5-15 people we have stronger emotional ties to.

Younger users already appear to do this and probably use Facebook in very different ways (event invites, messaging etc).

I suspect they have shorter session times also.

A move away by young users would be a big blow to the large social networks. They rely heavily on traffic for relevance to advertisers and investors. They need all of our time online.

But really, I have little interest in how larger social networks might address this behaviour, rather I like the idea that we invest less of our time in one or two platforms and spread it across multiple services that perform the best at one function.

This encourages innovation, flexibility and allows for the complexity of interpersonal relationships.

Filed under: Culture, Social Media, Teh Internetz

I like to ‘discuss’. Maybe I need a drumkit??

Filed under: Teh Internetz

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