Silicon Valley, Don't Forget the Others

By July 28, 2010

When you live in Silicon Valley, there is one thing that you forget after a while: users here are on the cutting edge of innovation. Massive check-ins on Foursquare, Twitter updates, Yelp stickers on every restaurant door, geek

y events that attract thousands of people . . . it's a long list of signs showing how people here have jumped into innovation. As a result, living in Silicon Valley is at the same time enlightening and blinding.

Start-ups are proposing new services and products meant for improving other start-ups' products. (See: the vast Twitter 3rd-party ecosystem.)

Because Internet evangelization doesn't seemed to be the priority of start-ups – it's not their job, true – the Silicon Valley ecosystem appears to be a huge innovation marketplace massively dedicated to hyping geeky users.

Yesterday's Forrester study about location-based services shows that only 4 percent of online American adults have ever used a location-based app on their phone, and less than 1 percent are using them more than once per week. Within this 1 percent of users, 80 percent are male and 70 percent are aged 19-35.

More people are active on microblogging sites than using location-based apps: one-fifth of U.S. Internet users are now on Twitter. They are mostly between 18 and 44 years old, are already using social networks (Facebook, MySpace). As for all social media, a very small number of users is creating the content for the vast majority of the others (10% of users are tweeting for the 90% others).

If there is one thing that marketers and entrepreneurs should never forget, it's to always weigh the very large majority of Internet users that are staying at a simple level of utilization. Facebook is the first social media tool to be used so massively and it doesn't mean that everybody is ready to plunge into the web tornado.

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