I will probably get flack for this but I am going to exclude web developers from this discussion of adoption rates about social media in the developer sphere.
Having moved through the technical streams over to the dark side of marketing, I have learned to challenge assumptions and here is one of mine I think needs testing. In this new age of “social media” and interaction, I have yet to see the leadership in the developer community make any substantive use of it. I would love to be proved wrong on this one. Social media, in my view, is really just branding what people have been doing for years: using peers to converse and exchange information on topics and facilitating interaction, even for niche subjects like the merits of static code analysis in mission critical applications.
The adoption rate of the “formal” social media is what I am interested in. The blogs, twitters, facebook, digg, etc, you know the brands that I mean. I have been looking for weeks to find any concrete data on adoption rate and have been hard pressed to find much.
- Technorati (March 2008- State of the Blogosphere) – 26.4 million blogs vs less than a handful about software development.
- Google Trends indicates that the ratio of software blogging to the main stream is 258 times less.
- Digg has just over 18583 diggs for software development versus over 3 million for marketing
- Twitter volumes are similar 13 900 versus 1.4 million
Why hasn’t the paradigm shift happen here like in other industries? Online marketers are eating up social networking on Himalayan scale, so why not in development circles. Speculating on human behaviour is not without its caveats but are technical people so different from say marketers or bus dev people? In a nut shell – yes.
It’s not to say developers aren’t social, in many ways the development community has been the leading the wave [Yes, that is an intentional pun for the upcoming Google Wave]. I would argue that software development has been social for well over a decade as best exemplified by the open source movement. Some of the greatest advancements in software design and productivity have come from major collaborative efforts such as the LAMP stack, OpenOffice and Android just to name a tiny few and open source has lead to the rise and fall or changed of direction in many a company – see Apple adopting the Linux kernel etc.
My conclusion on all this: the software development community has voted with their feet. They do not need yet another vehicle to find their voice when they already use mechanisms (open source collaboration, forums, community websites etc) that do the job quite nicely thank you very much.
So if you disagree, take up the sword and prove otherwise.
PS. And yes I get the irony of writing a social media piece about software development on a blog. :-)