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As defined by Wikipedia – In general, social networking services, such as
MySpace, Facebook, Linkedin and Bebo, allow users to create a profile for themselves. Users can upload a picture of themselves and can often be “friends” with other users. In most social networking services, both users must confirm that they are friends before they are linked. For example, if Alice lists Bob as a friend, then Bob would have to approve Alice’s friend request before they are listed as friends. Some social networking sites have a “favorites” feature that does not need approval from the other user. Social networks usually have privacy controls that allows the user to choose who can view their profile or contact them, etc.MySpace and other social networks may have more growth ahead, according to data on June 2007 Web usage from Compete.
The firm measured what it calls “attention” (defined as the percentage of all time spent online that is devoted to one site), and attention for MySpace jumped 20% in June 2007 from the previous month.
In fact, the top six social networks all saw increased attention, and the top 20 social networks received over 15% of all attention in June. MySpace consumes an outsized share of Internet user time overall.
The study goes on to say “For marketers, this matters in part because many social networkers are willing to host or pass along sponsored content.One study, from Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, concluded that “the advertising potential for social networking is huge: 70% of UK social networkers are prepared to include sponsored content on their personal page, whilst 10% have already branded their space.”
The UK is similar enough in Web usage that it can serve as a directional guide to Internet behavior in the US. In the study, 68% of UK social networkers said they had visited another Web site after seeing something on a friend’s social network page. Just under half used a search engine to learn more and 35% had forwarded the space, ad or link to a friend.
eMarketer Senior Analyst Debra Aho Williamson said, “There’s no doubt that social networks take up a huge amount of Internet time, especially for younger demographic groups.”However, the continuing challenge for marketers is to find ways to engage consumers in this environment. Often, their attention is directed toward their friends and their own profile page, not necessarily the advertising. When social networks get better at targeted advertising, consumers will be more likely to respond.”