How well does social media predict things?
The day before the election Jeremiah Owyang published a wealth of stats on the Obama and McCain supporters, friends, and fans use of social media. The bottom line was at least a 3:1 advantage in favor of Obama. As we now know the election was much closer: a six (6) point spread between the two candidates, 52-46.
Funny thing - that difference is roughly the same as the point spread between Democrats and Republicans that have a social network profile: 30% to 23% (based on 5,000 registered voters 18+).
So there is clearly a difference between having social network profiles and using social media. The comments and links in the original post to other analyses support the point that engagement is higher, e.g. the Kiva numbers. What we don't know is that elusive thing called "intent" or "purpose."
I wonder if it comes down to a society vs. individual question: We're all in this together vs. I'm going alone and don't need much help. If so, we need to figure out how that relates to marketing.