Thursday, December 20, 2007

Teenagers Embrace Social Media...

A new Pew Internet Study has been released that highlights just how much teenagers have embraced social media. It should come as no surprise that the number of teens creating and sharing content on the internet is trending upwards, but there are some interesting findings such as that boys are more likely to post video clips to sites like YouTube, while teenage girls are more likely to have a blog.

Should the Nerfherder be worried?

How about the fact that teenagers are actually decreasing their use of email, staking out a clear preference for IM-ing, cell phone texting, and posting messages on sites like MySpace and Facebook instead?

Some of the main conclusions of the study:
  • Girls continue to lead the charge as the teen blogosphere grows; 28% of online teens have created a blog, up from 19% in 2004.

  • 55% of online teens have profiles on a social network site like MySpace or Facebook, and in keeping with the conversational nature of social media, online teens are interacting with each others' blogs and other posted content at about a 70% clip.

  • Older online boys (age 15-17) are more likely to watch videos on sites like YouTube than younger teens, and also twice as likely to post videos as older girls (21% vs 10%).

  • Digital images - stills and videos - have a big role in teen life. Posting them often starts a virtual conversation. 89% say that people comment at least sometimes on the photos they post.

And here's a whopper that may come as a complete shock to parents the world over. A majority of teens actually restrict access to photos and videos that they post online. Only 21% of teens never put restrictions on who can view their content. Meanwhile, adults are more lax and restrict access to the same content less often.

How should we understand this data? Ultimately, it's all in the eye of the beholder. Pew headlines the report, "The use of social media gains a greater foothold in teen life as they embrace the conversational nature of interactive online media". Meanwhile, your teenage kid's reaction is most likely, "Duh".


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