Call it good news or a shift in trends — Pornographic consumption on the Web has dropped substantially since the growth of Social Media. I’m not going to dictate whether this is morally good or not; but I will contend that people are maturing their interests in how they engage with the Web.
Social Media provides a wide spectrum of value and gratification for users such as emotional, informational, acceptance and peer activities. Essentially, using the Web has transcended from a singular activity toward a peer-to-peer activity. For instance, MySpace was good to let people share their individuality and style in the form of profiles, Facebook is great to keep tabs on your friend’s activities and LinkedIn is great to show off your professional accomplishments.
Traditionally, many Internet providers and Web sites author content which people look at. The best example of this is the classic AOL Welcome Screen — there’s minimal action and people have been idly content at just observing things happen. Even the way AOL users accessed the Web, they did so in an ‘isolated’ manner, searching for extremely controversial content [note: vulgar], giving a glimpse into their inner-most desires.
You might recall the privacy-gaffe known as the AOL Search Data Scandal, it provided significant (and scientific) insight as to how late-adopters search the Web. In other words, it’s an Internet Marketer’s wet-dream to know how people search the Web instead of merely using Search Volume estimates from Google. Yes, there were some casualties, but it was a big wake-up call as to how elementary most users on the Web operate. The raw data is still available on mirrors if you wish to indulge in the raw Web searches of innocent Web users.
Now, back to my point; it should be noted that as people consume social media, manage their online experience and connect with people, it demonstrates that the Web could curb abuses in society. Could the Web become the next alternative to Heroin or Cocaine? I find the Web is healthy addiction that people can gain benefits from at no expense to their existence. I’m not saying that pr0n is necessarily an ‘abuse’– it’s just an activity that typically demonstrates isolation and singularity in how people consume it.
However, I’m not sure if Craigslist’s “Casual Encounters” (:ahem: promiscuous encounters) section is obsolete from the category of porn; since it merely promotes prostitution on the Web. The benefit though the Casual Encounters section is heavily monitored by Vice enforcement teams within many police departments in addition to NCMEC for child exploitation.
You can read a preview of the report, on the ABCNews Web site. You need to scroll down to see the fancy graphs, but it’s all there.
[Image Credit: Chad Coombs, Flickr]