If you have an image of young people continuously blogging and tweeting, it's time to recalibrate. According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, Millennials are doing less blogging but more social networking.
The study, entitled Social Media and Young Adults and released Wednesday, says blogging has declined among users age 30 and under, but increased somewhat among those over 30. Teens in general are not doing a lot of tweeting on Twitter, except for high-school girls.
Micro-Blogging for Macro-Blogging?
The study attributes the rise in social networking in part to the new tools that have been embedded into those sites in recent years. The report notes that "youth may be exchanging 'macro-blogging' for micro-blogging with status updates" on such sites as Facebook and MySpace.
Facebook is the number-one social-networking site, with almost three-quarters of all adults who have a profile online saying they are on that site. MySpace is second with 48 percent, and LinkedIn, which is more professionally oriented, is claimed by 14 percent. Obviously, a number of users have multiple profiles online.
In 2006, about 28 percent of teenage Net users said they blog, while only about 14 percent now say they do. Commenting on blogs is also down, from 76 percent in 2006 to about 52 percent now.
But blogging has remained relatively constant among older users. Pew said its studies in recent years have "consistently found that roughly one in 10 online adults maintain a personal online journal or blog." About 11 percent of Net users age 30 and over maintain a personal blog, compared to seven percent in late 2007.
Nearly half of all adults online use social networking, a 10 percent increase since November 2008.
Difference Between 'Participation and Use'
The study is the latest report from Pew's Internet and American Life Project, which is looking at the attitudes and behaviors of those under 30.
Brad Shimmin, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, made a distinction between "participation and use." He said that the Pew study is "spot on" in saying that Millennials are losing interest in blogging as an activity and "expressive outlet." But, he noted, this group is still reading blogs and finding them via search engines.
Andrew Frank, research director at Gartner, noted that, for businesses trying to market to young people, two factors from the Pew results should be kept in mind.
He said ads on social-networking sites, and ads that use social-networking techniques, are clearly an area of growth. But, Frank added, any kind of online marketing to this youth group needs to account for the "shortness of attention span" that social-networking sites promote.
For ads and other messaging to reach the youth market, he said, shorter messages that target relevance, context and the user's attitude will likely be more effective.