I'm Confused! Conflicting Social Media Studies

One of the most confusing things to me about all this social media stuff is the constant conflicting information. One day there's a study showing one thing; the next there's another that shows just the opposite.

For instance, WorkPlace Media's recent study "Can Big Brands Crash The Social Networking Party?" found "The overall impact of a brand's presence on social networking sites was shown to be minimal in terms of impact and perception." Stephanie Molnar, CEO of WorkPlace Media, says "When it comes to influencing brand perception and purchase decisions... social networking... has a long way to go."

But then you check out Charlene Li/Wetpaint's new research on "deep brand engagement" and it seems to show just the opposite--that the brands most deeply engaged in social media demonstrated an average 18% growth in revenue over the past 12 months compared to the least engaged, who showed an average decline of 6% in revenue over that same period. This doesn't seem to illustrate brands being minimally impacted by social media; seems to be pretty persuasive evidence of the exact opposite.

Now the same thing with the teens/Twitter thing. First "Stats Confirm It: Teens Don't Tweet." Ok.

But then I read this. "Naturally, younger respondents were more familiar with the microblogging site. Only 11% of 18-to-39-year-old advertisers did not know enough about Twitter to have an opinion on its value, compared with 20% of advertisers ages 40 to 49 and 21% of those 50 and older." What do you mean, "naturally"? I thought teens don't use Twitter? Which is it--they don't use it or they're the experts?

What this whole thing underscores for me is the reality that it's impossible to be a social media "expert" because social media is a constantly moving target, with new "truths" being revealed--and dispelled--every day.