Mind the Gap

Social media in the United Kingdom is becoming more popular according to a survey conducted a few months ago. According to Hitwise, “UK Internet users are spending less of their online time shopping and more time browsing online media.”Online_retailers_upstream_traffic_from_social_networks_email_webmail_UK_2009_2008_chart 

This  is a reported reversal from one year ago.

 Twitter use has also registered a huge spike in the UK.  Just this week, it was reported that “the micro-blogging site has popularized amongst the UK masses to such an extent that it attracted traffic 22-fold in just a year, being the fastest amongst all other sites.”

Not suprisingly, with these kinds of numbers, the UK is seeing the same kind of defection from newspapers to online news sources that is being experienced around the globe.  Another Hitwise survey found that in the UK, “print readership of newspapers has dropped by a staggering 5 million in 15 years. This equates to nearly a 20% decrease.”  

According to Social Media Trader, prominent newspapers in the UK have recognized the shift and most are responding.  Most newspapers’ online editions now are Web 2.0, as detailed below.   

Newspapers Icons* Popular** Video Blog/Profile*** Digg FP
Times 310
The Independent 139
The Telegraph 183
The Daily Express   0
The Sun 18
The Mirror 14
The Guardian 443
The Daily Mail 309
The Daily Star 1
Financial Times Planned 44

*Social news and bookmarking Icons for easy submission.
**Shows most popular, most emailed or most commented stories on the front page. Front page content determined by users.
***Has own blog or profile

mid-Mind_the_gap_oggThere is an slogan in England, “Mind the Gap”, that refers to the divide between the platform floor at the Underground and the train idling at the station.  It is a phrase that has worked itself into the vernacular and warns of the dangers associated with a disconnect between two areas.  It is an interesting reminder for us as we head to London with all its grandeur and history, to learn more about how respected brands like The Times of London – in print since 1785 – are working to adapt to the new world of social media. Just yesterday stateside, a respected national news brand, The Washington Post  announced the launch of a brand new mobile Web site characterized as “the definitive mobile news source for Washington. Unparalleled local and national news and analysis helps you stay informed and connected on-the-go.”  The swift shift in how the public now receives its news could not have been predicted even a decade ago.

As we spend our last week of class together, I know I’ll be thinking of these dichotomies, how fast social media is changing our field and how this class is working to arm us in real time with what we need to “mind the gap” in our own lives – both personally and professionally.  

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