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By Brian Solis

Part 6 in a series introducing my new book, The End of Business as Usual

The state of social media is no insignificant affair. Nor is it a conversation relegated to a niche contingent of experts and gurus. Social media is pervasive and it is transforming how people find and share information and how they connect and collaborate with one another. I say that as if I’m removed from the media and cultural (r)evolution that is digital socioeconomics. But in reality, I’m part of it just like everyone else. You and I both know however, that’ I’m not saying anything you don’t already know.

Social media is clearly becoming the new normal. For the last several years, simply adding the word “social” in front of anything and everything from media and gaming to commerce and CRM to business and consumerism, it’s clear that we are finally approaching the end of the hype curve to start making sense of what it all means and just how far it applies to the future of business and media.

But as social media becomes part of our cultural fabric and even as we witness businesses, governments,sports teams, and almost every organization socialize communication efforts today, much of what we see is merely the beginning of something that will one day become something far more important than the medium itself. Indeed, social media is affecting behavior and nothing is more important than the ability to influence decisions and ultimately behavior. The state of social media is not necessarily as much about which network is #winning as much as it is about how people are spending their time, interacting and connecting with one another, and what happens as a result.

To demonstrate this point, let’s review the profound findings from the recently released Nielsen Social Media Report.

1) Skeptics will now be recognized as laggards as they now officially stand in the way of progress. According to Nielsen, and well, reality, social media isn’t a fad. The report opens with a key finding that social networks and blogs dominate how Americans spend their time online, which accounts for nearly 25% of their total time spent on the Internet.

2) Four out of five active internet users aka everyday people visit social networks.

3) Looking beyond the U.S., in 10 major global markets, social networks and blogs reach over 75% of active Internet users.

4) 60 percent of people who use three or more digital means of research for product purchases learned about a specific brand or retailer from a social networking site. And, 48% of these consumers responded to a retailer’s offer posted on Facebook or Twitter.

5) 70 percent of active online adult social networkers shop online.

6) 53 percent of active adult social networkers follow a brand.

7) Tumblr nearly tripled its audience from just one year ago.

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