Wednesday, August 19, 2009
5 Reasons Why Gen Y is the Minority on Twitter
Before going any further, I think that it is imperative to clarify that teens are indeed on Twitter - they’re just a minority (a clarification I attribute to my friend Joey Mucha ( @mucheazy ).
Last week, Mashable published an article that seemed to get everyone’s underwear in a bunch - Stats Confirm it: Teens Don’t Tweet. They cited a recent Nielsen report that shows that only 16 percent of Twitter users are under 25. Later that same day, one of my favorite editors over at Mashable, Ben Parr ( @benparr ) came out with a very interesting piece titled Why Teens Don’t Tweet. This took a closer look at the numbers and tried to add reason to them. If you haven’t read his post, you should. It’s very well written. Below I’ve put some of my thoughts around Gen Y and twitter. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on the subject as well!
1. Perceived Value vs. Actual Value (the status update)
Twitter is a social network, therefore it must be like all social networks. Wrong. I’ve heard this a lot from my non-tweeting Gen Y peers. Just because Facebook and Twitter both have a place where you can update your status, it doesn’t mean that they are used in the same ways or even for the same reasons. I have seen a decent amount of my peers get on Twitter expecting it to be like Facebook, only to not really “get it” and close their accounts.
Like any other hit new thing, at some point it’ll reach a tipping point and go viral. There will always be the first movers, but the masses begin their adoption when the they see the majority of the peers following suit. While other demographics have snowballed with Twitter use, the under 25 segment hasn’t. But who ever said that every demographic adopts things at the same pace? It could simply mean that there haven’t been enough movers in that segment to instigate the viral affect yet...
3. Push vs. Pull
Twitter is best utilized as a means for accessing news/articles in real time (pulling) and pushing content to others, not for finding what all of your friends are currently up to (especially if most of your friends aren’t on Twitter). If you’re following several hundred to several thousand people, trying to keep tabs on all of your friends updates will prove difficult as their tweets will get lost among the tweets of all the other news agencies, celebs, and randoms that you’re following as well - that is, unless you’re utilizing a client like TweetDeck.
4. The Friend Zone
If teens are mainly using social media to connect with their friends, then Twitter is not the most efficient means of doing so, Facebook is. If all of your close friends are already communicating in one area, why move them all over to another social media site unless it has some amazing value-add (might I remind that Facebook is launching real-time search functionality as well...)?
5. The LinkedIn Syndrome
My observation is that Twitter is a lot like LinkedIn: it is great for people trying to build a professional network, or substantiate themselves as subject matter experts on something. Which is why both struggle to attract teens. Why do teens need to build a professional network? Their network consists of their friends and little more. So what is the value-add for a teen to join?
What are your thoughts on the subject?
--Now Let Me Clear My Throat--