Facebook’s Got Us On Lockdown, Study Confirms

Like brushing your teeth or staring hollow-eyed into your smartphone to the exclusion of life forms around you, Facebook is so thoroughly ingrained in the day-to-day existence of many that we don’t even think about it anymore. Alas, those remaining Internet users in the United States who don’t Facebook now, likely never will. That’s the looming takeaway from the latest social media study from the Pew Internet Research Project.

We all know that old chestnut about how “uncool” teens find Facebook. Indeed, Pew confirmed Facebook users are getting older; for the first time in 2014, more than than Internet users ages 65 and older are on Facebook. But neither cliche nor boomers have budged Facebook’s numbers in the 50 states.

See also: Facebook CEO Invites Us To Consume Mass Quantities … Of Book-Larnin’

Facebook membership in the U.S. is holding steady, with 71% of Internet users 18-years and older are active on the site, according to Pew’s September 2014 survey. That number hasn’t budged since August 2013, but that doesn’t mean Americans have reached peak Facebook. In fact, the world’s largest social network is far from entering terminal decline in the U.S., as those of us who have Facebook accounts are spending more time there than ever before.

Of the members among us, 70 percent of those surveyed owned up to engaging on Facebook once a day, which Pew calls a “significant increase from the 63% who did so in 2013.” Meanwhile, 45% of members admit to visiting Facebook several times a day. What’s more, while most all the popular social networks saw a boost in both membership and activity, they still have a ways to go before they’re gaining on Facebook. Here’s how Pew breaks it down:

  • About half (49%) of Instagram users and 17% of Pinterest users engage with their respective platforms daily, although neither of these represent a significant change from 2013.
  • Some 36% of Twitter users visit the site daily, but this actually represents a 10 point decrease from the 46% who did so in 2013.
  • While the 13% of LinkedIn users who engage with the platform daily is unchanged from 2013, the proportion of users who use the site weekly or less often increased significantly—that is, more users log on less frequently.

Indeed, Facebook is a more ingrained habit than, say, flossing our teeth. Many use Facebook as a “home base” of social media, according to the Pew study. It’s the most popular site for the social network-monogamous; 79% percent of Internet users belong to only one.

For the 52% of Internet users in relationships with several social networks, a “significant majority” use Facebook far more than Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. That basic finding hasn’t changed in three years.

Facebook Has A Plan … It Includes Apps And Video

As the most recent Pew study finds, Facebook retains the significant lead in active members in the U.S. But history shows the social network is no hare among turtles. Outside the U.S., Facebook remains in a fierce battle with Google to gain the loyalty of Internet-nascent countries.

In 2012, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Internet.org, a Facebook-led initiative to bring the mobile Internet to the two-thirds of the planet’s population who are currently without access. Six months later, Facebook paid $16 billion for WhatsApp, a free-messaging app with a big footprint outside the U.S. in areas where mobile phones are the prime method of Internet access. Long story short, there are more places than the U.S. to grow membership.

See also: Facebook’s Trending Wants To Be Your Mobile News Reader

In the U.S., it’s all about increasing engagement, which Facebook is getting increasingly good at. Facebook’s efforts to own video—a traffic driving goldmine on both desktops and mobile devices—are paying off. On Wednesday, the social network announced that video posts per person have increased 75% globally, and 94% in the U.S. since the last year. At least 50% of U.S. users view one video on Facebook a day. This success was echoed by analytics firm Socialbakers, which found that in the last year, brands posted 20,000 more videos on Facebook than they did on YouTube.

Facebook is already the largest photo-sharing website on the Internet, a crown it nailed down in 2011 prior to its $1 billion purchase of Instagram. It’s also where 30% of its users go to get the latest news, according to Pew

tudy published in September 2014. Facebook is working hard to increase that number so it can supplant Twitter as the de facto social network for breaking news.

In December, Facebook made several major updates to Trending, its Twitter-like zeitgeist-monitoring feature. Along with categories which allow searches by public posts from people in the area if a breaking story, Trending also finally became available on mobile.

If all this isn’t enough to keep you from clicking away from Facebook, there’s always Zuckerberg’s book club. Inviting others to participate in his New Year’s resolution, to read a new book every other week, Zuckerberg launched the Year In Books community page on Facebook; more than 235,900 “likes” and counting.

Ello, The New Social Network, Is Already Legit Enough For Hoaxes

Don’t believe everything you hear about Ello, the ad-free social network that is currently enjoying its fifteen minutes of fame. While its production team struggles to keep the servers online, misinformation is spreading fast and loose.

See also: What The Ell Is Ello? The Ad-Free Social Network Everyone’s Talking About

The latest hoax came in the form of a Twitter screenshot, in which a user named @tinybaby claimed he’d been banned from Ello for using the hashtag “#GamerGate.”

#GamerGate refers to a month-long rash of infighting among video game players which deals with the way women in the sphere are treated. As some gamers rush to defend women and others to disparage them, misogyny and hate speech abound.

Ello co-founder Todd Berger confirmed the screenshot was a fake, and that the only people Ello has banned so far have been celebrity and business impersonators.

“We don’t even have the capacity to send an email when we ban someone’s account yet,” he told Betabeat.

However, that’s not to say discussions of #GamerGate won’t eventually be bannable offenses on Ello someday. According to a post in Ello’s WTF section—a lighthearted term for its Q&A—Ello does take hate speech very seriously.

“Ello has a zero-tolerance policy for abusive behavior. This includes any form of hate, trolling, stalking, spamming, flaming, impersonating others, harming children, pornography, or any other behavior designed to hurt another person physically or emotionally.”

Called out on his hoax, @tinybaby has only this to say:

Big Data’s Fence-Sitters Are Starting To Experiment

Big Data may finally have arrived. Not “arrived” in the sense that everyone is swimming in data lakes and discovering actionable insights and other buzzwords. After all, most companies, including yours, are still baffled by Big Data and how to derive value from it.

See also: Oh, Go Jump In A Data Lake, Says Fed-Up Gartner Analyst

But for the first time in years, the Big Data fence-sitters have decided to get into the action. According to recent Gartner data, Big Data experimentation has hit 73% of enterprises, suggesting that too much is at stake with big data to sit it out.

The trick now is to learn how to optimize those Big Data projects so they can fail, fail and fail again—and yet produce useful lessons for improvement with each iteration.

More Companies Jumping Into Big Data

While some signs point to a slowdown in Big Data-land, like this tweet from Gartner analyst Nick Heudecker—

—other data suggests the opposite. Some of it, ironically, from Gartner.

For example, for the last few years Gartner has been asking survey respondents,”Which of the five stages best describes your organization’s stage of Big Data adoption?” From 2012 to 2013, the number of naysayers remained roughly constant:

Source: Gartner, 2013

But this week Gartner released its newest survey data, and the percentage of respondents declaring they have “No plans at this time” to embrace Big Data declined considerably:

Source: Gartner, 2014

That’s a seven-point drop in the “no plans” contingent, swelling the ranks of those investing in or planning to use big data projects to 73% from 64% in 2013.

That’s a big deal.

Learning To Try

Of course, many organizations continue to struggle to put their data to good use, which is why a mere 13% of organizations have actually rolled out Big Data projects. That’s a nice leap from 2013, but still indicates that technology vendors haven’t done nearly enough to simplify their products and that many organizations have the wrong approach to Big Data to begin with.

The gap between “want to work with Big Data” and “actually work with Big Data” is also captured in this 451 Research chart:

Source: 451 Research

Part of the problem is that we’ve confused what Big Data actually means—volume is rarely the most important problem to solve; variety of data is—and we think of it as a discrete project rather than as a core component of a company’s culture.

Cloudera co-founder Mike Olson nails this in a recent interview with Bosch’s Internet of Things group:

We talk to a lot of people who are fascinated by the technology of [Big Data]. They are excited about Big Data as Big Data. Those are bad people for us to work with, because they are not fundamentally driven by a business problem. It’s important when you start thinking about [Big Data] to think about why it matters…. The “shiny object syndrome” of engineers who want to play with new technology—I totally get that, I am one of those guys, but those projects generally fail because they don’t have clear success criteria.

The key, as I’ve written, is to set up an architecture of experimentation. This involves a heavy reliance on open-source software, cloud-based hardware and a multi-faceted team that understands your business and the right questions to ask of your data.

It’s clear that many organizations don’t follow this practice, or we wouldn’t see nearly half of CIOs surveyed by Deloitte saying they have inadequate budget to fund innovation. Innovation isn’t a matter of big budgets; it’s a matter of little iterations.

By embracing this more agile approach to big data innovation, more organizations will discover how to turn big data tire-kicking into big data success.