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The young aren’t using Twitter?! Who is surprised?

August 11, 2009 Leave a comment

There were quite a few posts flying around last week about this, for example this from the ft.com and ‘why teens don’t tweet’ from Mashable. Surely, people aren’t surprised about this.

(I am going to generalize about young people a bit in this post) Most young people don’t see the need for some digital social networks because they have their physical ones in full operation. Everyday at school they are seeing, pretty much, ALL their network of friends. They all have mobiles so are using them to chat, text and exchange lurid images. There is nothing that a social network can offer that will drastically improve their social life…so why bother? The real-time engagement that they get from physical and mobile contact means they don’t need to do it on the social web. When you were at school, how many friends were you in regular contact that you didn’t actually see at least every week? Not too many.

As soon as they start to leave school or their social circle becomes more disparate, ie when they go to college or enter the job world, the value of a Facebook becomes much greater. Also, as you get older your social circle increases and you need a repository for that data. Young people should maintain their real social interactions as long as possible but as we all know, eventually your connections and friends start to spread out.

Twitter is becoming a breaking news and social search platform. It is aiming to let users “discover what is going on in the world, right now”, which again, the young don’t really care that much about. The social platforms are maturing and finding their own identities and purpose, so its unrealistic to think all demographic of user is going to adopt every social network available.

Young people are no different to any other age group. They use the communication and connectivity tools which give them the most social value at that point in time.

Bad times at MySpace

June 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Hot on the heels of the news that they are to cut 30% of their US workforce, is the announcement that they will now cut two thirds of their international staff. In Adam Ostrow’s post on Mashable, MySpace blame the cuts on the company becoming too cumbersome in the current market, both in the US and overseas. It seems clear that the company cannot continue for much longer in its current form and I wonder if it may be the first ‘major’ social network to diversify away from being a one size fits all, behemoth to a more niche community.

Michael Arrington’s Techcrunch post last month, speculated that the $900m ad deal with Google will not be renewed when it expires next year, which will be a huge hit and I think we will see display ad revenue decline further this year. Lancing staff costs is probably a good move to buy some breathing space but this problem isn’t going to go away.

I remember discussing the future of social networking sites, with my colleagues, when social networks first came to prominence and we always believed that the networks would ultimately fragment into smaller more niche communities, as all other types of media have done over time. I am wondering if now isn’t the time for MySpace to look at what they are good at – Music, and focus on that.

I can’t see them regaining ground on Facebook anytime soon, that battle may be lost, but they do have a very active and loyal community based around music, which was what drove its popularity in the first place. Music lovers are about the most brand loyal group in the world (actually, I think they are second; ahead of sport but behind religion!) so there are worse target audience’s to build and sustain a community around.

Even though MySpace Music isn’t setting the world alight just yet, if they integrate the service more with the main site, it can become a major music sales window, plus they already have a vibrant music community to build upon and deals with major record labels in place. I would forget ads completely and concentrate on selling music.