Last week, we discovered that 4 out of 5 teens prefer and use Facebook over the leading sugarless gum.
Oh, sorry, I meant to say that while 7 out of 10 (73% to be exact) teens use social networking websites like Facebook, only 1 in 12 teens use Twitter. Clearly, the still-in-place-to-be is on Facebook and other social networking websites like it.
The new data comes from our friends over at the Pew Internet and American Life Project, who conducted a phone survey in the middle of last year of 800 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17.
And while teens continue to embrace social networking, they seem to be abandoning their use of blogs. Blogging amongst teens has been slashed in half in just 3 years, according to the Pew data (from a high of 28% in 2006 to a current 14% of teens surveyed).
Why the decline in blogging? As most first-time bloggers learn, blogging is hard work. It seems easy enough at first — write an entry a few times a week about something you find interesting (or a specific topical theme, like psychology and mental health here on this blog). But 4 weeks or 4 months into it, and you find that it takes some time to compose literate, interesting entries. Regularly and constantly. Most bloggers simply burn out (usually pretty early on), or wind up forgetting about their blog and leaving it to languish.
Social networking sites like Facebook are much easier, and you can take or leave them on your own terms. If you update regularly, great! Your friends and such appreciate it. But if you don’t bother with it for a few days or whatever, it’s not the end of the world. You don’t lose readers by not updating, because the paradigm is different — you have “friends,” not readers. Your Facebook “friends” will still be there, no matter how often or little you update. And while it may be nice to grow your friends list, it’s not the end of the world if you keep it small.
On Facebook, there’s so much more you can do that just update your status. You can check out what your other friends are doing, review new photos they’ve posted, enjoy one of the countless apps, or play one of the countless games. You can join a cause or a support group. And you never leave Facebook. It’s all there.
Twitter combines Facebook’s “friends” (called “followers”) with blogging’s reinforcement of writing something interesting regularly. So while it’s like Facebook in that you won’t lose your followers by not updating, it is only about the updating. You can’t really play a lot of interesting games on Twitter, or join in a very coherent group conversation (it’s all very much dependent upon what kind of software, if any, you use to access Twitter). Twitter is simply not as rich a universe or platform for sharing as Facebook is.
I suspect that we’ll continue to see trends like this, where Twitter will always be relegated to a niche status in the world of networking.
Read the full article: The young prefer Facebook to blogging, Twitter
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Feb 2010
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2010). Facebook Continues to Dominate Among Youth. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/02/06/facebook-continues-to-dominate-among-youth/