Blogging among teens and young adults

Blogging among teens and young adults

blogging.jpgSince 2006, blogging has dropped among teens and young adults while
simultaneously rising among older adults. As the tools and technology
embedded in social networking sites change, and use of the sites
continues to grow, youth may be exchanging ‘macro-blogging’ for
microblogging with status updates.

Blogging has declined in popularity among both teens and young
adults since 2006. Blog commenting has also dropped among teens.

  • 14% of online teens now say they blog, down from
    28% of teen internet users in 2006.
  • This decline is also reflected in the lower incidence of teen
    commenting on blogs within social networking websites; 52% of teen
    social network users report commenting on friends’ blogs, down from the
    76% who did so in 2006.
  • By comparison, the prevalence of blogging within
    the overall adult internet population has remained steady in recent
    years. Pew Internet surveys since 2005 have consistently found that
    roughly one in ten online adults maintain a personal online journal or
    blog.

While blogging among adults as a whole has remained steady, the
prevalence of blogging within specific age groups has changed
dramatically in recent years. Specifically, a sharp decline in blogging
by young adults has been tempered by a corresponding increase in
blogging among older adults.

  • In December 2007, 24% of online 18-29 year olds
    reported blogging, compared with 7% of those thirty and older.
  • By 2009, just 15% of internet users ages 18-29
    maintain a blog—a nine percentage point drop in two years. However, 11%
    of internet users ages thirty and older now maintain a personal blog.

Both teen and adult use of social networking sites has risen
significantly, yet there are shifts and some drops in the proportion of
teens using several social networking site features.

  • 73% of wired American teens now use social
    networking websites, a significant increase from previous surveys. Just
    over half of online teens (55%) used social networking sites in November
    2006 and 65% did so in February 2008.
  • As the teen social networking population has increased, the
    popularity of some sites’ features has shifted. Compared with SNS
    activity in February 2008, a smaller proportion of teens in mid-2009
    were sending daily messages to friends via SNS, or sending bulletins,
    group messages or private messages on the sites.   
  • 47% of online adults use social networking sites, up from 37%
    in November 2008.
  • Young adults act much like teens in their tendency to use
    these sites. Fully 72% of online 18-29 year olds use social networking
    websites, nearly identical to the rate among teens, and significantly
    higher than the 40% of internet users ages 30 and up who use these
    sites.
  • Adults are increasingly fragmenting their social networking
    experience as a majority of those who use social networking sites – 52% –
    say they have two or more different profiles. That is up from 42% who
    had multiple profiles in May 2008. 
  • Facebook is currently the most commonly-used online social
    network among adults. Among adult profile owners 73% have a profile on
    Facebook, 48% have a profile on MySpace and 14% have a LinkedIn profile.1
  • The specific sites on which young adults maintain
    their profiles are different from those used by older adults: Young
    profile owners are much more likely to maintain a profile on MySpace
    (66% of young profile owners do so, compared with just 36% of those
    thirty and older) but less likely to have a profile on the
    professionally-oriented LinkedIn (7% vs. 19%). In contrast, adult
    profile owners under thirty and those thirty and older are equally
    likely to maintain a profile on Facebook (71% of young profile owners do
    so, compared with 75% of older profile owners).

Teens are not using Twitter in large numbers. While teens are
bigger users of almost all other online applications, Twitter is an
exception.

  • 8% of internet users ages 12-17 use Twitter.2
    This makes Twitter as common among teens as visiting a virtual world,
    and far less common than sending or receiving text messages as 66% of
    teens do, or going online for news and political information, done by
    62% of online teens.
  • Older teens are more likely to use Twitter than their younger
    counterparts; 10% of online teens ages 14-17 do so, compared with 5% of
    those ages 12-13.
  • High school age girls are particularly likely to use Twitter.
    Thirteen percent of online girls ages 14-17 use Twitter, compared with
    7% of boys that age.
  • Using different wording, we find that 19% of adult internet
    users use Twitter or similar services to post short status updates and
    view the updates of others online.
  • Young adults lead the way when it comes to using
    Twitter or status updating. One-third of online 18-29 year olds post or
    read status updates.

Wireless internet use rates are especially high among young
adults, and the laptop has replaced the desktop as the computer of
choice among those under thirty.

  • 81% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 are
    wireless internet users. By comparison, 63% of 30-49 year olds and 34%
    of those ages 50 and up access the internet wirelessly.
  • Roughly half of 18-29 year olds have accessed the internet
    wirelessly on a laptop (55%) or on a cell phone (55%), and about one
    quarter of 18-29 year-olds (28%) have accessed the internet wirelessly
    on another device such as an e-book reader or gaming device.
  • The impact of the mobile web can be seen in young adults’
    computer choices. Two-thirds of 18-29 year olds (66%) own a laptop or
    netbook, while 53% own a desktop computer. Young adults are the only age
    cohort for which laptop computers are more popular than desktops.
  • African Americans adults are the most active
    users of the mobile web, and their use is growing at a faster pace than
    mobile internet use among white or Hispanic adults.

Cell phone ownership is nearly ubiquitous among teens and young
adults, and much of the growth in teen cell phone ownership has been
driven by adoption among the youngest teens.

  • Three-quarters (75%) of teens and 93% of adults
    ages 18-29 now have a cell phone.
  • In the past five years, cell phone ownership has
    become mainstream among even the youngest teens. Fully 58% of 12-year
    olds now own a cell phone, up from just 18% of such teens as recently as
    2004.


Internet use is near-ubiquitous among teens
and young adults. In the last decade, the young adult internet
population has remained the most likely to go online.

  • 93% of teens ages 12-17 go online, as do 93% of
    young adults ages 18-29. One quarter (74%) of all adults ages 18 and
    older go online.
  • Over the past ten years, teens and young adults
    have been consistently the two groups most likely to go online, even as
    the internet population has grown and even with documented larger
    increases in certain age cohorts (e.g. adults 65 and older).

Our survey of teens also tracked some core internet activities by
those ages 12-17 and found:

  • 62% of online teens get news about current
    events and politics online.
  • 48% of wired teens have bought things online like books,
    clothing or music, up from 31% who had done so in 2000 when we first
    asked about this.
  • 31% of online teens get health, dieting or
    physical fitness information from the internet. And 17% of online teens
    report they use the internet to gather information about health topics
    that are hard to discuss with others such as drug use and sexual health
    topics.

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