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There are many who have resisted the idea of Facebook and blogging because of the assumption that it is for personal sharing. People who see themselves as private and unwilling to do status updates and photo sharing have stayed cleared of the social media phenomena. There has been a slight attitude to disdain attached to the staying away too because it was seen as a passing fad. There has been a steady acceptance and expansion of social media that has been challenging these assumptions. Now there is a report from Trendstream, a social media consultancy firm, which indicates that there has been a 20% increase in real-time social media usage and that this usage is increasingly for sharing professional content as opposed to personal content.

While blogs, microblogs, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and My Space all are still predominantly associated with social sharing with friends, and friends of friends, the report, which is part of the larger ongoing Global Web Index study, suggests that this is not the case. The focus on Social Entertainment in the report highlights the progressive convergence of social media and professional entertainment and offers conclusions indicating that brands will be the source of social entertainment. An article about this report on Mashable also draws attention to the fact that the emphasis in social media is steadily shifting to real-time exchanges.

The statistic that I find particularly interesting is that while there has been a 10% increase in the number of people linking to news stories or commenting on a product, there has been a 5% decrease in people posting updates on personal photos. This is in the context of the finding that there has been a 20% increase in the use of real-time social networks and microblogs in the last year and there is 50% market penetration even in places where there is not active engagement with the idea of social media. The survey was conducted at three points between July 2009 and September 2010 and involved 51,000 consumers across the globe.

The takeaway from all this seems to be that social media is here to stay and with the growing acknowledgment of the  global reach of these tools, businesses are going to find ways to harness their power of distribution. Facebook is no longer going to be just about the latest book your friend read or the wonderful restaurant that he visited – it is going to be where we will meet our favorite author and hear from our favorite restaurant.

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