Latest USC Annenburg Study Shows Dramatic Growth in Online Community Participation by Americans

20 12 2008

This year’s report from the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication shows that online communities are becoming very important to Americans.  Here are some excerpts of the soon to be released study.

Membership in online communities has more than doubled in only three years. More than half of online community members (54 percent) log into their community at least once a day, and 71 percent of members said their community is very important or extremely important to them. Fifty- six percent of members reported meeting their online counterparts in person.

The study found that participation in online community membership has particularly dramatic effects on participation in social causes. Three-quarters of online community members said they use the Internet to participate in communities related to social causes, with 40 percent saying that they use the Internet at least monthly to participate in such communities. Eighty-seven percent of online community members are participating in social causes that are new to them since their involvement in online communities began.

And, a large and growing percentage of members — now 55 percent — say they feel as strongly about their online communities as they do about their real-world communities.

Clearly, the growth of online communities is opening a range of opportunities for social connection, involvement and communication that could not have been anticipated even five years ago.


McKinsey’s Business Trends to Watch

1 12 2008

McKinsey Quarterly offers some interesting observations on a host of key business trends that are being driven by the influence of technology like Web 2.0. Given the recent discussions, more food for thought.

These trends fall within three broad areas of business activity: managing relationships, managing capital and assets, and leveraging information in new ways.

I want to highlight the first and third in this post. Much of what os.a is all about relates to these MQ Trends.

You can find McKinsey entire article here.

Managing Relationships

Distributing co-creation

Technology now allows companies to delegate substantial control to outsiders–co-creation–in essence by outsourcing innovation to business partners that work together in networks. By distributing innovation through the value chain, companies may reduce their costs and usher new products to market faster by eliminating the bottlenecks that come with total control.

os.a Examples: New businesses created around networks versus traditional management hierachy

Using consumers as innovators

Consumers also co-create with companies… But the differences between the way companies co-create with partners, on the one hand, and with customers, on the other, are so marked that the consumer side is really a separate trend. These differences include the nature and range of the interactions, the economics of making them work, and the management challenges associated with them.

os.a Examples: Tapping end users to “co-create” content, product or services

Tapping into a world of talent

As more and more sophisticated work takes place interactively online and new collaboration and communications tools emerge, companies can outsource increasingly specialized aspects of their work and still maintain organizational coherence. Much as technology permits them to decentralize innovation through networks or customers, it also allows them to parcel out more work to specialists, free agents, and talent networks.

os.a Examples: Extracting more value from interactions

Technology tools that promote tacit interactions, such as wikis, virtual team environments, and videoconferencing, may become no less ubiquitous than computers are now. As companies learn to use these tools, they will develop managerial innovations–smarter and faster ways for individuals and teams to create value through interactions–that will be difficult for their rivals to replicate.

os.a Examples: Ride the LongTail , Web 2.0 Adoption by Companies by Global Region

Leveraging information in new ways

Putting more science into management

Leading players are exploiting this information explosion with a diverse set of management techniques. Google fosters innovation through an internal market: employees submit ideas, and other employees decide if an idea is worth pursuing or if they would be willing to work on it full-time. Intel integrates a “prediction market” with regular short-term forecasting processes to build more accurate and less volatile estimates of demand.

os.a Examples: Prediction markets for associations