Media agency Universal McCann has released its latest consumer research, covering how 17,000 consumers in 29 countries use social media – blogs, social networks, video-sharing sites and so on. The results make for fascinating reading.The study’s called When Did We Start Trusting Strangers? (that link is to the PDF version), and it explains how consumers are talking about and recommending brands and products online, both among friends and strangers. 52% of respondents had recommended music online, for example.What does this mean for you? The report’s author Tom Smith puts it bluntly: “Participation in social media is not a choice, it is now a default. This is a consumer revolution, they choose who takes part and they are already talking about and commenting on all brands. It is down to companies to decide whether to be actively or passively involved.”

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