Which Social Venue to Target?

Study shows age disparity in social networking preferences.

by Auctiva.com staff writer
- Feb 22, 2010

As a seller, accessing the greatest number potential buyers is a priority, but merchants should ask themselves if they're reaching out through the right venues to get the attention of the buying crowds they seek.

According to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, those who blog and frequent blogging sites aren't the same group as those who opt for social networking sites. In fact, while the number of bloggers has stayed consistent over the last several years—roughly 30 million people are estimated to maintain a blog—these Internet users are likely older than their Facebooking counterparts.

In 2009, 14 percent of teens blogged, and 52 percent commented on others' blogs, the report shows. By comparison, those numbers in 2006 were up to 28 percent and 76 percent, respectively. Today, teens are opting for social-networking sites, with 71 percent of them using Facebook and 66 percent using MySpace. Twitter is most popular among adults ages 18 to 29, with roughly 33 percent of people in this age group using the microblogging service.

"Blogging appears to have lost its luster for many young users," notes Amanda Lenhart, the study's lead author. "The fad stage is over for teens and young adults, and the move to Facebook—which lacks a specific tool for blogging within the network—may have contributed to the decline of blogging among young adults and teens."

However, the findings don't mean that blogs are a thing of the past, Lenhart notes. In two years, the number of bloggers ages 30 and older has increased from 7 percent to 11 percent. And according to officials, people still read blogs, but use them to gain the information they need and then they move on to other "more exciting things."

One possible reason more young Internet users are opting for social sites over blogging is they are more likely to access the Web via a mobile device, making brevity more important. An estimated 50 percent of 18 to 29 year olds access the Internet in this manner.

A freshman at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts reports the preference for microblogging and social networking is "a matter of typing quickly. People these days don't find reading that fun," she notes.

And while adults are more likely to buy items online, sellers should not forget about targeting younger buyers. Pew researchers say 48 percent of young Internet users purchase books, clothing and music online.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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