Recently, a New York Times Columnist, Tim Egan, wrote an article titled “Please Stop Sharing,” in which he lamented the proclivity to over-share the banal and trivial on Social Networks and the negative consequences of saying something that lives forever in cyberspace. What was interesting was the number and variety of comments it generated. I examined 113 of those comments that were available online (as of December 16, 2011) doing a content and sentiment analysis. The results reveal there are at least five different segments based on perceptions of Social Networks, with a sizable segment of non-users that see Social Networks as unproductive, degenerate, or encroaching on privacy. More details about each of the segments and implications for Marketers follow.
The readers commenting could be segmented into five different groups as shown in the Figure below. There are those who defended over-sharing as not banal but as freedom of speech, or as what makes life. This constituted 16% of the sample of commenters. Here I could identify a couple of different segments. There was a second group of users of social networks that I term “Pragmatists,” who saw the benefits of social networks and felt it was up to you how you used it or how you reacted to the banal, trivial, or “over-sharing.” There was a larger segment of non-users of social networks. These constituted those who had tried it and decided it was not for them and those who did not want to use it. Again this group could be segmented into those who would not use it because they were concerned about privacy (Privacy aware). The second segment of non-users felt that social networks were either unproductive or represented degeneration of social and cultural values.
For more details and marketing recommendations, please click on my full article published at MarketingProfs.com – “Meh! Not Everyone ‘s Into Social Networks.”