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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kids Abandon Social Networking Sites

Who ever thought that social networking would be uncool? Apparently that's what millions of 15 to 24 year olds now think about the major social sites like Facebook and MySpace, according to an article in The Guardian.

The article states that according to a recent study by Ofcom (the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries), the overwhelming presence of 25 to 34 year olds has driven away their younger peers. While the number of profiles have been increasing for the older demographic, the younger has shrunk by an almost identical amount.

"There is nothing to suggest overall usage of the internet among 15-to 24-year-olds is going down," said Peter Phillips, the regulator's head of strategy. "Data suggests they are spending less time on social networking sites." James Thickett, director of market research at Ofcom, said that while older people seemed to be embracing social networking sites, Facebook and MySpace still remained immensely popular with children under 16.

As we've seen several times in recent history, social networks are transitory in popularity, especially with fickle teens. What is massively popular today may be just as uncool tomorrow precisely because of that massive popularity. MySpace seems to be fading (as is Linkedin with the professional crowd), Facebook seems to have peaked, and Twitter is growing but skews old as it's never captured the hearts and minds of the below 25 crowd.

This makes marketing via social marketing a very moving target. Just about the time you get good at utilizing a social platform, it's time to learn the nuances of a new one. This seems to be the new way of working these days. The only question now is how fast something will get old.

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