How late adopters get into social media

See, the early adopters are forgetting to study how the late adopters actually do get involved in our worlds.

Those in the social media worlds seem to often forget that it’s still a Google World. Most normal people who aren’t frantically checking FriendFeed or Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn all day long are just hanging back doing 1998-style searches for stuff. And most of those, in my experience, are using Google. So I call it a Google World now for late adopters.

Lately a BUNCH have showed up here looking for info about recession. I couldn’t figure it out, until I looked at my referer log, then looked at Google.

Here, do a Google search for “recession 2008.”

Hundreds of people do that, or one for just plain old “recession” every day for MONTHS.

Welcome late adopters.

OK, OK, I see that people are saying that we should stop calling our latest economic troubles a recession because, well, technically we’re not in a recession.

So, we need a new term for what we’re going through.

We’re not jobless, but our paychecks in the US are worth less and less every day thanks to a combination of dollar weakness and oil price increases.
Our home prices, according to Zillow and our neighbors have gone down so much that we won’t be able to sell our home and come out ahead anymore. Our equity is gone, and that’s if you’re one of those who still can afford to make payments. If you are one of the unlucky ones who didn’t plan ahead you now are renting some cruddy apartment and your credit is in the toilet.
We’re still paying for a war by printing more funny money, which means there will continue to be pressures on our economy.

Maybe we’re not in a recession, but we’re in a deep hole of economic dung. DHED. You heard it first here.

If you’re a late adopter and don’t know about all that newfangled RSS stuff, not to mention you haven’t heard of Twitter yet, not to mention FriendFeed, that’s OK. We love you just the same. Hope you visit again sometime thanks to the wonderful quirky Google World.

Oh, and if you are a late adopter and you see this thing called FriendFeed over on the right side of my blog? Ignore it. You won’t need to know much about it for at least six more years. Not to mention, don’t think of watching those FastCompany.tv videos we’ve been shooting. Someone might see you watching videos and think you’re on YouTube or something.

110 thoughts on “How late adopters get into social media

  1. @scobleizer you are totally right that we live in a late adopter Google world. That’s why I think businesses optimized for Google are much better than those optimized for FriendFeed. I’m as addicted to social media as the next guy so I’ll keep learning and having fun. But with the recession coming I’m sure glad I’m targeting lots of late adopters with money in their pockets. Still want the pitch on Twitter? ;) enjoy maker faire!

  2. @scobleizer you are totally right that we live in a late adopter Google world. That’s why I think businesses optimized for Google are much better than those optimized for FriendFeed. I’m as addicted to social media as the next guy so I’ll keep learning and having fun. But with the recession coming I’m sure glad I’m targeting lots of late adopters with money in their pockets. Still want the pitch on Twitter? ;) enjoy maker faire!

  3. Even the term “late adopters” is condensing tripe.

    But you get “it” thus art special, and anointed by God — however, everyone else, who doesn’t get it, is “late” and obviously in league with the Devil. Welcome to your new Cult, hope you like the accommodations, complete with 250 traffic-linking brown-nosers at your service.

    Technology is meant to have a purpose, a means to an end, that purpose varies by individual, some like it for it’s own sake, others want it to actually function so they can produce something else.

    The fact that some people aren’t using your current shiny toys, right this second, simply means you haven’t met or fulfilled a need. And 95% of the stuff getting Techcrunch nods won’t ever scale or meet those needs.

  4. Even the term “late adopters” is condensing tripe.

    But you get “it” thus art special, and anointed by God — however, everyone else, who doesn’t get it, is “late” and obviously in league with the Devil. Welcome to your new Cult, hope you like the accommodations, complete with 250 traffic-linking brown-nosers at your service.

    Technology is meant to have a purpose, a means to an end, that purpose varies by individual, some like it for it’s own sake, others want it to actually function so they can produce something else.

    The fact that some people aren’t using your current shiny toys, right this second, simply means you haven’t met or fulfilled a need. And 95% of the stuff getting Techcrunch nods won’t ever scale or meet those needs.

  5. Just read these comments – really interesting!

    Regarding Twitter, I gave my Twitter name (Jimconnolly) on the front page of my new blog http://theideasblog.com and asked my readers to add me to their Twitter account, if they wanted to.

    The two things I discovered was:
    1. The people who added me, use Twitter for everything from listing job vacancies to advertising their podcasts. Very few are from here in the UK.

    2. Most of my readers (it’s an ideas sharing blog) generally don’t even have a Twitter account. I have had loads of email from people asking ‘what’s Twitter?’.

    Interesting eh?

    Jim Connolly
    The Ideas Blog

  6. Just read these comments – really interesting!

    Regarding Twitter, I gave my Twitter name (Jimconnolly) on the front page of my new blog http://theideasblog.com and asked my readers to add me to their Twitter account, if they wanted to.

    The two things I discovered was:
    1. The people who added me, use Twitter for everything from listing job vacancies to advertising their podcasts. Very few are from here in the UK.

    2. Most of my readers (it’s an ideas sharing blog) generally don’t even have a Twitter account. I have had loads of email from people asking ‘what’s Twitter?’.

    Interesting eh?

    Jim Connolly
    The Ideas Blog

  7. Here comes the late commenter/economic teacher:

    - a recession is a temporary reduction in economic output; ‘temporary’ is defined by US authorities as ‘two consecutive quarters’ — as it’s been eight months, you have all the official blessings to use the word;
    - a depression is a sustained reduction in output — USA might be starting to experience one, but you have to wait for more bad news to say so.
    There is no official limit between the two, although after year, you hardly can expect a speady recovery.
    What is not well defined is an economic standstill, or rather a growth not significant enough to be considered positive or negative; Scoble, you seem to be assuming this is the current situation: it is in many countries, but not in the USA.

    - having your money representing less is called ‘an inflation’; the opposite is ‘a deflation’; the word itself doesn’t assume anything about why;

    - if the prices on a market drop, it is a deflation; ‘why’ requires assumtions :
    * because of a bubble, then it is a ‘bust’;
    * because of a real, sudden change in economic value, in which case it is a ‘drop caused by exogenous event’.

    Your pick is: was it reasonnable to have 15$/bar. oil in 2003, when billions opposed the Iraq invasion in vain, describing how violence in the region never lowered oil prices?

    As you can see, what you describe seems contradictory: are prices going up or down?
    Suburban real-estate is complementary to oil: its consumption, and therefore value, is moving in the opposite direction of gas prices. What might be a better measure of USA’s economic situation is the output without oil “artificial” (exogenous) increase — and it should be far worst then what is officially described; sorting price effects on the rest of the economy draws an even grimmer picture.

    Both of what you describe are only true for the American market: if you look at the wheat-to-gold or the oil-to-gold ratio, the prices are significantly going up, but not in the proportions you describe. The global total real-estate investment, has been historically high, and what you have seen recently is nothing more then a cooling, a deceleration. The current situation on the American market are not news to anyone who realised no country can borrow trillions and not produce anything with it.

    All these situations can legitimately be called with other words (including you anagram) most of which I would refrain to use — but if you want to be simple & accurate, talk about “a recession caused by exogenous inflation”.

    Regarding “late adopters” or “mass marketing”, either expressions imply a given relevant market — and there are currently orders of magnitude of difference between the PC (Facebook) and the mobile (Twitter) users. I wouldn’t use them, but rather define their asset and skills.
    What seems to be missing in your Google-world is YouTube, and e-mail. The company is still unanimouly leading among people with access to internet.

  8. Here comes the late commenter/economic teacher:

    - a recession is a temporary reduction in economic output; ‘temporary’ is defined by US authorities as ‘two consecutive quarters’ — as it’s been eight months, you have all the official blessings to use the word;
    - a depression is a sustained reduction in output — USA might be starting to experience one, but you have to wait for more bad news to say so.
    There is no official limit between the two, although after year, you hardly can expect a speady recovery.
    What is not well defined is an economic standstill, or rather a growth not significant enough to be considered positive or negative; Scoble, you seem to be assuming this is the current situation: it is in many countries, but not in the USA.

    - having your money representing less is called ‘an inflation’; the opposite is ‘a deflation’; the word itself doesn’t assume anything about why;

    - if the prices on a market drop, it is a deflation; ‘why’ requires assumtions :
    * because of a bubble, then it is a ‘bust’;
    * because of a real, sudden change in economic value, in which case it is a ‘drop caused by exogenous event’.

    Your pick is: was it reasonnable to have 15$/bar. oil in 2003, when billions opposed the Iraq invasion in vain, describing how violence in the region never lowered oil prices?

    As you can see, what you describe seems contradictory: are prices going up or down?
    Suburban real-estate is complementary to oil: its consumption, and therefore value, is moving in the opposite direction of gas prices. What might be a better measure of USA’s economic situation is the output without oil “artificial” (exogenous) increase — and it should be far worst then what is officially described; sorting price effects on the rest of the economy draws an even grimmer picture.

    Both of what you describe are only true for the American market: if you look at the wheat-to-gold or the oil-to-gold ratio, the prices are significantly going up, but not in the proportions you describe. The global total real-estate investment, has been historically high, and what you have seen recently is nothing more then a cooling, a deceleration. The current situation on the American market are not news to anyone who realised no country can borrow trillions and not produce anything with it.

    All these situations can legitimately be called with other words (including you anagram) most of which I would refrain to use — but if you want to be simple & accurate, talk about “a recession caused by exogenous inflation”.

    Regarding “late adopters” or “mass marketing”, either expressions imply a given relevant market — and there are currently orders of magnitude of difference between the PC (Facebook) and the mobile (Twitter) users. I wouldn’t use them, but rather define their asset and skills.
    What seems to be missing in your Google-world is YouTube, and e-mail. The company is still unanimouly leading among people with access to internet.

  9. I’ve always been an early adopter. I used linkedin, etc. to keep up with my friends and colleagues who are also on there.

    Haven’t used Twitter yet, see no need to do so. I do read many RSS feeds and even have a few of my own.

  10. I’ve always been an early adopter. I used linkedin, etc. to keep up with my friends and colleagues who are also on there.

    Haven’t used Twitter yet, see no need to do so. I do read many RSS feeds and even have a few of my own.

  11. Of course, if you measure it in Euros…

    I love that, going to quote it.

    Question: What do late-adopters call themselves? They’re not generally aware they’re in that category. It’s a term we’ve coined for them. Would be cool to use a term they identify with.

    I try to address everyone at the same level in my posts (though my posts lately are Twitter-centric). Early, late, or random passerby, each visitor is simply there to learn.

  12. Of course, if you measure it in Euros…

    I love that, going to quote it.

    Question: What do late-adopters call themselves? They’re not generally aware they’re in that category. It’s a term we’ve coined for them. Would be cool to use a term they identify with.

    I try to address everyone at the same level in my posts (though my posts lately are Twitter-centric). Early, late, or random passerby, each visitor is simply there to learn.

  13. Robert– I’m rather astounded how little comment there is about the R word. Yes, we are in big big economic trouble… even it you still have a job, many do not. Grocery bills are climbing along with gas bills. For the working people the deliver all your services, driving to work means cutting back on groceries. Bills are not being paid and anxiety must be intense. I know Bush is still president, but can’t we call a Recession a Recession. Mission Accomplished!

  14. Robert– I’m rather astounded how little comment there is about the R word. Yes, we are in big big economic trouble… even it you still have a job, many do not. Grocery bills are climbing along with gas bills. For the working people the deliver all your services, driving to work means cutting back on groceries. Bills are not being paid and anxiety must be intense. I know Bush is still president, but can’t we call a Recession a Recession. Mission Accomplished!

  15. Robert if your econ prof taught you that we are in a recession I’d ask for my tuition back. And # of links != accuracy or credibility

  16. Robert if your econ prof taught you that we are in a recession I’d ask for my tuition back. And # of links != accuracy or credibility

  17. OHHH actually, I just realized something.

    WOW. You’re assuming that anyone coming to your blog from Google on the Recession 2008 search of Google is some retarded late-comer to social media and just a casual Internet google user.

    Huh? The person searching Recession 2008 could be your IT geeky plugged-in neighbour in Half-Moon Bay, Robert, looking up the news to see if he will lose his job.

    And…the Recession 2008 search words with you at the top of them lets us also know how stupid the whole Google algorithm thing is, and how it doesn’t serve people, because it gives them as ostensibly “the most authoritative” or “the most popular” a blog that isn’t about the recession, that is a snarky comment by a guy who isn’t feeling the recession, who hasn’t really an informed opinion about the recession.

    That’s Google for you! The main thing is that Sergey and Larry have it worked out so that their Silicon Valley pals can always turn up first as influencers lol.

    Then all the hapless saps coming to your page in genuine research on recession 2008 by experts or sufferers or crowd wisdom merely find your page just because…you have a fancy tech-talk site which high Google traffic/cred.

    See, it’s this sort of power and influence that makes you think you can decide candidates for elections.

  18. OHHH actually, I just realized something.

    WOW. You’re assuming that anyone coming to your blog from Google on the Recession 2008 search of Google is some retarded late-comer to social media and just a casual Internet google user.

    Huh? The person searching Recession 2008 could be your IT geeky plugged-in neighbour in Half-Moon Bay, Robert, looking up the news to see if he will lose his job.

    And…the Recession 2008 search words with you at the top of them lets us also know how stupid the whole Google algorithm thing is, and how it doesn’t serve people, because it gives them as ostensibly “the most authoritative” or “the most popular” a blog that isn’t about the recession, that is a snarky comment by a guy who isn’t feeling the recession, who hasn’t really an informed opinion about the recession.

    That’s Google for you! The main thing is that Sergey and Larry have it worked out so that their Silicon Valley pals can always turn up first as influencers lol.

    Then all the hapless saps coming to your page in genuine research on recession 2008 by experts or sufferers or crowd wisdom merely find your page just because…you have a fancy tech-talk site which high Google traffic/cred.

    See, it’s this sort of power and influence that makes you think you can decide candidates for elections.

  19. So how would you answer those people that are bored with “social media?” The people I want to talk to I do either over email, IM, or believe it or not IN PERSON. What type of adopter does that make me? I don’t want to get spam invites, to have yet another social media account, I don’t want to get superpoked, or compare my movie tastes, or write on someone’s fun wall.
    I want to communicate with my friends. And by friends I mean real life friends, not someone who I only meet online that I will never meet in person.
    I want a “community” of real people, who care about things that I care about and who share my burdens and concerns… 5,000 friends on Facebook can’t do this.
    Seems like we have gotten way to in-personal when we should be striving to bring back community.

    What type of adopter am I?

  20. So how would you answer those people that are bored with “social media?” The people I want to talk to I do either over email, IM, or believe it or not IN PERSON. What type of adopter does that make me? I don’t want to get spam invites, to have yet another social media account, I don’t want to get superpoked, or compare my movie tastes, or write on someone’s fun wall.
    I want to communicate with my friends. And by friends I mean real life friends, not someone who I only meet online that I will never meet in person.
    I want a “community” of real people, who care about things that I care about and who share my burdens and concerns… 5,000 friends on Facebook can’t do this.
    Seems like we have gotten way to in-personal when we should be striving to bring back community.

    What type of adopter am I?

  21. Robert: I’ve never heard a truer truism than what Will Wright said to us back in the beta of the Sims Online: that 10 percent will create the content of the other 90 percent.

    Social media might up that to 25 or even 50, but it doesn’t mean that “late-comers” who come to the blogging tools will themselves also want to make a blog. They may skip that step.They may only make a Flickr. Or a Twitter. Or skip all of those and circle back to real life. Or just read blogs. Or…you just don’t know.

    I don’t think you can assume a linear development where first 10 percent use blogs then eventuallly 100 percent make blogs. Blogs are kinda stupid things. Not everyone will want to make them. Or read them.

    Only 20 percent of voters read political blogs. My God, that may be a GOOD thing.

  22. Robert: I’ve never heard a truer truism than what Will Wright said to us back in the beta of the Sims Online: that 10 percent will create the content of the other 90 percent.

    Social media might up that to 25 or even 50, but it doesn’t mean that “late-comers” who come to the blogging tools will themselves also want to make a blog. They may skip that step.They may only make a Flickr. Or a Twitter. Or skip all of those and circle back to real life. Or just read blogs. Or…you just don’t know.

    I don’t think you can assume a linear development where first 10 percent use blogs then eventuallly 100 percent make blogs. Blogs are kinda stupid things. Not everyone will want to make them. Or read them.

    Only 20 percent of voters read political blogs. My God, that may be a GOOD thing.

  23. Robert,

    I can’t tell whether you’re tongue-in-cheek with that call to the “newbies” to ignore FF for 6 years.

    Technology accelerates, change accelerates, they accelerate each other, and no, that doesn’t mean they are all headed to that retarded “singularity” thingie, but they are making things more complex, and more needful of curators who don’t stop the flow to be analyzed by others.

    I’ll never forgot what this one guy wanted to do with Samizdat (which was the Soviet version of blogs, really, in the 1980s lol). “Self-publishing” is what the word means. He wanted to take everybody’s retyped freely copied passed-on samizdat and bundle it and re-sell it, after somebody else who had aggregated it as a favour passed it to him…dog in the manger. I’m all for proprietary intellectual property. But if something is released into Samizdat, don’t try to hog it and predict about it and try to control how others will use it.

    The recession is worse than you’re feeling it, too.

  24. Robert,

    I can’t tell whether you’re tongue-in-cheek with that call to the “newbies” to ignore FF for 6 years.

    Technology accelerates, change accelerates, they accelerate each other, and no, that doesn’t mean they are all headed to that retarded “singularity” thingie, but they are making things more complex, and more needful of curators who don’t stop the flow to be analyzed by others.

    I’ll never forgot what this one guy wanted to do with Samizdat (which was the Soviet version of blogs, really, in the 1980s lol). “Self-publishing” is what the word means. He wanted to take everybody’s retyped freely copied passed-on samizdat and bundle it and re-sell it, after somebody else who had aggregated it as a favour passed it to him…dog in the manger. I’m all for proprietary intellectual property. But if something is released into Samizdat, don’t try to hog it and predict about it and try to control how others will use it.

    The recession is worse than you’re feeling it, too.

  25. I’d have to agree with Hershel – mostly. Your term “late adopters” is a mis-nomer to others who follow product cycles and other academic explanations. (And who like to drop ten-dollar words around…)

    Scoble’s Glossary:
    early adopter = bleeding edge – before it hits even the pre-radars
    late adopter = early adopter – just hit the radar screen and becoming popular
    mainstreamer = peak adopter – everybody does it
    really old hat = actual late adopter – everybody’s been doing it for years, now something else is really popular
    dinosaurs = trivia collectors – long after everyone else has moved on to that something else

  26. I’d have to agree with Hershel – mostly. Your term “late adopters” is a mis-nomer to others who follow product cycles and other academic explanations. (And who like to drop ten-dollar words around…)

    Scoble’s Glossary:
    early adopter = bleeding edge – before it hits even the pre-radars
    late adopter = early adopter – just hit the radar screen and becoming popular
    mainstreamer = peak adopter – everybody does it
    really old hat = actual late adopter – everybody’s been doing it for years, now something else is really popular
    dinosaurs = trivia collectors – long after everyone else has moved on to that something else

  27. I’m an intentional late adopter. Believe me. These things blip my radar. I just don’t feel like joining 2 new social networks every week for the rest of 2008, only to have more than half of them fizzle out before the end of 2009.

    I wait for the initial buzz to fade off. Then, I let all my new media fanfriends evangelize me. And when they just about give up on getting me into something, I join.

  28. I’m an intentional late adopter. Believe me. These things blip my radar. I just don’t feel like joining 2 new social networks every week for the rest of 2008, only to have more than half of them fizzle out before the end of 2009.

    I wait for the initial buzz to fade off. Then, I let all my new media fanfriends evangelize me. And when they just about give up on getting me into something, I join.

  29. Just to back myself up cause I have no credibility.

    Martin Feldstein, head of NBER said on March 7, 2007: I think that December/January was the peak and that we have been sliding into recession ever since then. I think it could go on longer last two recessions (which) lasted eight months peak to trough”.

    NBER is the National Bureau of Economic Research, the ones who make the official call.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN0747602120080407

  30. Just to back myself up cause I have no credibility.

    Martin Feldstein, head of NBER said on March 7, 2007: I think that December/January was the peak and that we have been sliding into recession ever since then. I think it could go on longer last two recessions (which) lasted eight months peak to trough”.

    NBER is the National Bureau of Economic Research, the ones who make the official call.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN0747602120080407

  31. There are no “late” adopters I would argue.

    There are only early adopters who consume technology when it is first introduced. These early adopters, in the case of HD TVs, pay a premium for being early to the party. Without early adopters, the mainstream wouldn’t have products and services to eventually adopt.

    With the Internet, the application adoption curve is even more elongated. Google is mainstream and Yahoo is mainstream and look how long they’ve been around. Defining mainstream is difficult, but I think the simplest definition is if my 70 year old mother uses the technology, it is mainstream, and she is very technically inept.

    Robert, you are surely on the “bleeding edge” for Web technology and I think you are so far out in front of the mainstream that they can’t even see you anymore and when they read your stuff they see big question marks in their head and quickly move on.

    Oh, and I re-read your post a couple of times and I agree with a previous poster. I don’t get the answer to your title. How do late adopters get into social media? By Googl’ing a subject and stumbling upon a site like yours?

  32. There are no “late” adopters I would argue.

    There are only early adopters who consume technology when it is first introduced. These early adopters, in the case of HD TVs, pay a premium for being early to the party. Without early adopters, the mainstream wouldn’t have products and services to eventually adopt.

    With the Internet, the application adoption curve is even more elongated. Google is mainstream and Yahoo is mainstream and look how long they’ve been around. Defining mainstream is difficult, but I think the simplest definition is if my 70 year old mother uses the technology, it is mainstream, and she is very technically inept.

    Robert, you are surely on the “bleeding edge” for Web technology and I think you are so far out in front of the mainstream that they can’t even see you anymore and when they read your stuff they see big question marks in their head and quickly move on.

    Oh, and I re-read your post a couple of times and I agree with a previous poster. I don’t get the answer to your title. How do late adopters get into social media? By Googl’ing a subject and stumbling upon a site like yours?

  33. Mashable is incorrect. Contrary to popular misinformation, an official recession is not 2 negative quarters GDP.

    Most recessions aren’t officially called for months, and upon revision of data.

    Most experts think that when it’s all said and done, this current recessions will be said to have officially started in december 2007 or january 2008.

    However – I do like your DHED.org initiative =)

  34. Mashable is incorrect. Contrary to popular misinformation, an official recession is not 2 negative quarters GDP.

    Most recessions aren’t officially called for months, and upon revision of data.

    Most experts think that when it’s all said and done, this current recessions will be said to have officially started in december 2007 or january 2008.

    However – I do like your DHED.org initiative =)

  35. Wow, you know what that #1 position might be worth the coming months…?
    Especially as all the sharks will jump on this to “help” people get out of the downturn. this proofs that Google sees your blog as an authority.

  36. Wow, you know what that #1 position might be worth the coming months…?
    Especially as all the sharks will jump on this to “help” people get out of the downturn. this proofs that Google sees your blog as an authority.

  37. I think you’re right about it being a Google world. My server logs are full of surprising searches that (comically, sometimes) led to my blog.

    My 80-something parents turn to Google when they want information. Just a matter of time before they start asking about Twitter – or not. But the point is they’re inadvertently getting exposed to alien ideas in a non-threatening way. And that can (sometimes) lead to change.

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