To me, the most interesting news stories always seem to come out on Friday or over the weekend -- and the news agencies didn't disappoint.
On Friday, an article was published by Reuters which looked at a recent poll of 2,277 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center. The poll, conducted in April and May of last year, concentrated on people's interactions within social media websites. Needless to say, I found the results of this small sampling incredibly interesting.
Of those polled, a definitive trend was seen toward creative, more private, and actively managed profiles. Of the respondents, 63% noted deleting someone from their profile page, up from 56% two years prior, and 37% admitted to untagging themselves in photos, up from 30% in 2009.
Another independent study by the Polytechnic Institute of New York confirmed this trend. From March 2010 to June 2011, the amount of Facebook users hiding their friends list jumped from 17.2% to 52.6%.
Social media companies are really seeking two things. They want to keep the user active and involved with the site, and they want that user to interact and connect with other users so the best possible data can be collected about the user and his or her friends by the social media site. This way the data gathered can be specifically targeted at the individual user or sold to a third party.
But what if social media users begin clamming up? That trend is clearly already happening, and it could become a problem for businesses partnered with large social media networks.
The concern I have is for social media "cling-ons" that rely on user interaction to drive sales. Zynga's
Daily deal site Groupon
I'm likely premature in my worries, but it's never too early to be skeptical about the growth prospects of companies that are attached at the hip to social media users. It's definitely a trend that bears watching. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a few privacy settings I need to check...
What do you think: Is the trend toward private accounts a genuine concern or not really a big deal? Share your thoughts in the comments section below with your fellow Fools.
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Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any of the companies mentioned in this article. He's a sucker for public profiles. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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