Social networks and blogs are now 4th most popular online activity, according to the most recent Nielsen report titled: Global Faces and Networked Places. One key finding states that, “ Social networks are now visited by over two-thirds (67 percent) of the global online population, “Member Communities,” which includes both social networks and blogs, has become the fourth most popular online category — ahead of personal email.” Let me guess, you’re not surprised… I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has started a story with, “I was on Facebook and…” The significant increase in the number of people participating in social networks and blogs (coupled together as ‘member communities’ in the report) is changing the way people behave and interact in general. I think of a social network just like TV or the newspaper on steroids, a broadcast communication medium to articulate your message, but you have the added bonus to engage and connect with your audience in a new and powerful way.An important point the Nielsen report raises is that social networks are simultaneously competing with traditional media outlets for consumer attention and creating new venues for traditional media outlets to engage their audience. The report highlights a number of points publishers should consider in order to properly engage their social network loving audience and they go into detail on page 13 of the report: – Understand that social networks are an opportunity for everyone – Tap into what makes social networks successful – Increase interactivity within the publisher site (Internal) – Participate in the conversation on other social networking sites (External) – Think about the mutual relationship with social networks and other media – Whatever the successful ad model turns out to be in social networks – copy it. Please join us in this conversation in the comment section of this blog or via Twitter. If you would like to learn more about the Cisco Eos social network offering for media & entertainment companies, please click here.