Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

4 Generational Trends in Social Media

As we set out to take our first strides toward “intergenerational professional dialogue,” social media is clearly not a speed trap we can avoid. We ourselves occasionally experience some confusion at the way social media is referred to in industry strategy contexts as though it were some sort of super-power. What about social media makes it both panacea and dark continent? And beyond the ways book professionals are trying to harness social-media-marketing power, what good does it do them in the realm of professional growth? Will digital natives need to adjust the way they think about social media as they enter an industry that predates it?

We’ll tackle all of those questions as time passes, but not here. This is just a place to look at what’s going on out there and get the conversation moving. We took to the streets of BEA (you know what I mean), as its attendees are from across the country and the industry, it’s crawling with professionals of all ages, and just plain has a lot of people to talk to. (You can even check out the survey we used). We’ve pulled together our data, made four basic observations, and would love to hear your take on it.

****

An announcement to shock no one:  those who have been in publishing for a shorter time (and are therefore likely younger) are using the most social media to connect and share professional experiences.

But what about those who are higher up the career ladder who have been using social media? Are they using the same platforms as the young ‘uns? And for the same purposes?

1. The young ‘uns Facebook

As Facebook approaches its eighth birthday, those who first logged into the site around the same time they got their braces off are graduating from college and entering the professional world. It’s no surprise, then, that those who’ve been in publishing for fewer years used Facebook over other platforms to plan for BEA–after all, this generation uses Facebook for almost everything else.

Also not surprising is that LinkedIn continues to be considered the “grownup” social network.

 

2. Definitions of social media differ generationally

Social media websites are those that allow users to interact in a public, online sphere, one that can be continuously added to and manipulated… at least, that’s what we think. So we were interested when responses like “Outlook“, “Gmail“, and “BEA App” were scribbled into the “Other” line on our surveys, quite a few times (which makes us better understand that, in the pie chart above, Other is tied with LinkedIn at 26%). You can probably guess which side of the 10-year mark those responders were on. Yes, many social media email-like functions–Facebook messages, Tumblr Ask boxes, and so on–and have the capability to append apps, so we’ll cut those who were confused some slack. But as of yet, these do not make social media and email clients/apps interchangeable.

 

3. Surprisingly, people used social media more as a means to plan/discover who would be at be BEA than to blab about their own experiences there…

…which speaks to how social media is changing as it becomes more of a professional tool than a way to stalk your old college roommates (necessarily…). In the graph below, the ways in which people who have less than 10 years experience in the book industry and those with more than 10 years are using social media proportionately for the same purposes.

(Index ratings were determined by awarding points each time someone checked a form of media in each category)

 

4. Just how many more platforms are the <10s using than the >10s? About twice as many.

On average, those with less than 10 years in publishing used 3 forms of social media (ie Facebook and Twitter and a blog) while those with more than 10 years’ experience used 1.5. The graph below shows the number of respondents in each experience category who used how many social media forms.

An observation about generational differences in “media socializing”: Are the >10’s having a richer professional experience just because they’re tweeting more? For all the fuss people of all ages make about the professional powers of social media, the answer isn’t necessarily “yes.” Equally, are the whippersnappers missing out on the “real” connection and enrichment just ’cause they’ve gotta keep close watch over their quickly typing thumbs? That doesn’t have to be true, either.

One hypothesis is that different generations use different skills to get what they need out of an experience like BEA. It’s worth evaluating different skill-sets and what they offer. There might be ways to augment your “generational” professional skills with something new (or old) that delivers something you want better than your current skill-set is. And it might offer ways to link yourself to circles in which you don’t normally run–circles that rely on different networking systems.

Addendum A little confused as to what IS social media? Here are some you might not have thought of:

The Social Media Prism: Almost a venn diagram of various types of “social” websites

24 of the World’s Largest Social Networks: Twitter and Facebook aren’t the only big-hitters out there. Check out a list of other countries’ top networks.

3 Comments

  1. Livia,

    This was a fantastic read. What you say makes perfect sense and could even be considered common sense. If someone stopped to consider the paradigm for even a split second you would inevitably come to the realization that younger authors and publishers would be making more active use of social media channels to promote their work and establish industry connections. What makes your piece stand apart is the quantitative data to back up your point.

    It does seem that authors are generally much slower to adopt social media tools as a method of brand promotion then the publishing houses. In many author interviews you’ll hear writers say that self-promotion is the one aspect of the job that they really dislike and who wouldn’t hate it? When you see authors at bookstores who are there for promotional signings you have to give them credit for exposing themselves like that regardless of how popular and well received their work is. For new authors, unknown entities looking to catch a break, this must be excruciating.

    Taking the time to develop and establish a human network of followers via Twitter, for example, can start well before you ever end up in that chair. Being social and opening up about the writing process, industry insights, and all the joys and pains of writing is a wonderful way to let people in and establish a fan base. Maybe you work and live in a smaller community without a lot of social media adopters? That’s ok, especially when you consider that your book, if published, may be available through national chains, on Amazon, or via e-book formats? You’ll want a human network of fans that aren’t geographically tied to your home town to buy your book and pass the word along to their friends and social networks.

    I will most certainly be using this blog in the future with my clients. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Michael Girard
    Community Engagement, Radian6

    • Livia Nelson Livia Nelson says:

      Michael-

      So glad you liked the article; thank you for your kind words. We’re especially excited that you think Trendsetter will be a good tool for your clientele, especially given your level of expertise as is so thoroughly and wonderfully displayed on Radian6’s website.

      Your comments about authors’ desire to adopt social media tools was actually somewhat surprising to me–I would have thought an author would like to do everything they could to promote their book. But maybe a true author just wants to write? To be done with the book once the writing is done? Very intriguing. And do you find that authors of all ages feel this way, or are their trends that mirror our observations about publishing industry people of varying experience?

      As an aspiring little writer myself, I was especially pleased with what you said about authors creating an online presence. While not yet even published, I do have a creative writing blog called Yeah Write! that has gained quite some popularity, which I find makes people far more willing to read my work. I’m so happy to see that you’d consider me as “on the right track”!

      Best,
      Livia

  2. […] A great transformation has taken place in the fields of writing and publishing in the last two decades. The Application of technologies have drastically changed our “old media” by digitalizationNewspapers and magazines can now be read online on their websites which in-turn enables magazines to increase their target groups by reaching to people all over the world.Blogging is widely used by Businesses and social groups as a form of media to spread out their messages in the new age.A phenomenon has emerged in the form of the cyber world which connects people to their required information and vice versaNew forms of media publishing like social networks and video integrated emails aid advertisers and marketers to reach their target audeinces in a more personalised manner. Audio books and personalized audio messages are one of the modern techniques of Media Publishing, They make the “information” more specialized and “personal”. Increasing amount of Internet users per-anum aid to the development of new techniques and practieces in the art of media publication. The Forms of Publication and media “dissemination” are still under the development phase. To understand this concept we must look at how The Generational Gap effects the trend. We must look at the graphs below as they show how the use of these new forms of media publication are used by Publishers with more than Ten years in publication and by those who have less than 10 ( Nelson , 2011 , http://www.Publishingtrendsetter.com viewed online 30 August ) […]

  3. “4 Generational Trends in Social Media | Publishing Trendsetter”
    was a good article. If merely there were a lot more blogs similar to this amazing one on the actual
    net. Regardless, many thanks for your personal precious time, Bryan

One Trackback

  1. By New forms of media publishing « Publishing Issues on August 29, 2011 at 11:10 am

    […] A great transformation has taken place in the fields of writing and publishing in the last two decades. The Application of technologies have drastically changed our “old media” by digitalizationNewspapers and magazines can now be read online on their websites which in-turn enables magazines to increase their target groups by reaching to people all over the world.Blogging is widely used by Businesses and social groups as a form of media to spread out their messages in the new age.A phenomenon has emerged in the form of the cyber world which connects people to their required information and vice versaNew forms of media publishing like social networks and video integrated emails aid advertisers and marketers to reach their target audeinces in a more personalised manner. Audio books and personalized audio messages are one of the modern techniques of Media Publishing, They make the “information” more specialized and “personal”. Increasing amount of Internet users per-anum aid to the development of new techniques and practieces in the art of media publication. The Forms of Publication and media “dissemination” are still under the development phase. To understand this concept we must look at how The Generational Gap effects the trend. We must look at the graphs below as they show how the use of these new forms of media publication are used by Publishers with more than Ten years in publication and by those who have less than 10 ( Nelson , 2011 , http://www.Publishingtrendsetter.com viewed online 30 August ) […]

Leave a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>