October 30, 2006

Some stats on "MySpace is so last year"

Wes and Christopher both picked up on the Washington Post story about how "MySpace is so last year". Well, I wonder if MySpace's reality ever really met the hype. Rick Segal, while euro-trotting with Shel, has managed to slip me some figures on the real demographic of MySpace, and it's got me thinking that the hype of very teen being a MySpace crazy networking individual might be more in our minds than in reality:

  • Teens  (users aged 12 to 17) represent only 11.9% of MySpace's audience -- a drop  from 24.7% in August 2005.
  • Internet users aged 35 to 54 account for 40.6% of MySpace's visitor base -- up 8.2% in the past year.
  • 68% of MySpace  users, 71% of Friendster users, and 43.7% of Facebook users are over age 25.
  • 34% of Facebook users, 18.1% of MySpace users, and 15.6% of  Friendster users are 18- to 24-year-olds.
  • Only 11.3% of all internet  users are 18- to 24-year-olds.

Interesting stuff.

Wes seems convinced Digital Social Networking will continue to live and expand, but I am less convinced that sites like MySpace will be the places where this happens. Here's my take:

When you ask in a school who has MySpace, Bebo or MSNSpaces accounts hands tend to go up for one of them more than another. Go to the class next door and the result could be for a different platform. The way these sites work is Word of Mouth marketing but I wonder whether the marketing goes beyond the classroom door. If this is the case then it doesn't appear to be a very scalable marketing model. It's how long-term product failures such as Nerds, Neck Socks and Shell Suits propagated in the 1980s. Short-term wows, long term woes.

Listening to the IT Conversations chat with some Californian teens last week as I trundled through Macmerry, Cockenzie and Prestonpans on the 44D service bus I wondered if my planet was really that connected. The teens in these places just don't sound like those Laguna Beach bourgeoisie.

I like Christopher's take better; I think it hits the mark:

When I was a teenager, my goal was to be different, but not too different, if at all possible.

This is where something like Vox comes in. It's the new platform launched by the makers of my blog platform, SixApart. It has been launched for people who only want to blog to nine or ten people, who don't want to blog to the world. I think that's teens. While they may have a desire to have ridiculous page hits perhaps there is more of a desire to be doing the same as the others, but different. And more teens would like to be safe and private while not stopping potential friends getting in touch. Again, this is the kind of recommendation-type friendship on offer through Vox à la LinkedIn, but for teens.

Am I surprised that MySpace is not all that in the world of Teen? Not at all. But I am watching with great interest what will replace it, and something tells me that what we are producing in East Lothian might go some way to filling that gap to some extent.


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I think MySpace is, as the stats back up, a site that covers a wider demographic. You could say that it represents the Internet population more accurately.

Sites like Bebo are aimed at a younger audience (schools & colleges facility) and do not have the adult (25+ year old) users, as I mentioned in my blog posting The Public & Private Face of a Teacher.

I think it will be interesting to see the level to which pupils will engage in social software in the educational domain of glow when they have the freedoms of bebo and MySapce to compare it against.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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