By Brigette Flood

You know the saying that goes, “a good idea is worth stealing?” I’m a big fan and practitioner of it. Really we all are. If you think about it, stealing is what social media is all about. It’s not stealing anymore, it’s sharing instead. See a funny video, share it. Insightful tweet, retweet it. Cool product, Google+ it. Funny post, like & comment on it. All those little stolen pieces become part of your social personality.

In social media practice, the sharing gets taken at least one step further. There are those who manage the communities and there are those who help the managers manage their communities. And both the individuals who use the tools and the companies who create them can access a lot of interesting data.

In the wild west of today’s socialsphere, the data is extremely helpful.  It benefits each of person, each organization and the still-emerging social media discipline distill all this sharing that everyone is so busy doing. Plan, implement, measure, tweak, rinse, repeat.

Not surprisingly, the most interesting stats come from the organizations having access to all that data. Analysts and data wonks unite (quick shout out to James, one of the best in the biz) At the end of 2011, Ad Age compiled a list of them. Here just a few. Stolen, I mean shared, for your pleasure (sources in parenthesis):

  • There are now more than 800 million active Facebook users, with more than 200 million added in 2011. (Social Media Examiner)
  • Nearly every large charity and university in America is on Facebook. Less than 60 percent of the Fortune 500 are. (Grow)
  • The average Facebook user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 pages, events and groups. (Social Media Examiner)
  • Forty-three percent of all online consumers are social media fans or followers. (HubSpot)
  • Netflix’s price hike caused 805,000 paid subscribers to jump ship in the most-recent quarter. (Mashable)
  • LinkedIn has 64 million users in North America alone. (All Twitter)
  • What makes people retweet? 92 percent interesting content. 84 percent humor. 66 percent personal connection. 21 percent celebrity status. 32 percent offered incentive (tangible or virtual). 26 percent “Please RT!” (WhiteFireSEO)
  • Beyonce’s pregnancy news at MTV’s Video Music Awards birthed a new Twitter record of 8,868 Tweets per second. (TechCrunch)

Happy New Year all. Here’s to sharing much in 2012. You can find (and RT!) me @brigflood and at

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.