Saturday, March 29, 2008

Part 2 – Social Networking Web Sites: The New “Hot Hang-Out”

Wasn’t “the mall” the preferred hang-out for teens? Times are changing. Social networking now occurs in-person and on-line.

A January 2007 survey found 55% of all online American youths ages 12-17 have created profiles at social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, with 48% visiting social networking sites at least once a day. As with other teen activities, social networking filters down to younger kids. A recent survey found 71 % of tweens and teens between the ages of 9 and 17 visit social networking sites weekly (Hayes, 2007).

For 15-17-year-olds, the socializing sites are the big draw: 91% of all social networking teens say they use the sites to stay in touch with friends they see frequently, and 82% use the sites to stay in touch with friends they rarely see in person. While 70% of older girls have used an online social network compared with 54% of older boys, the boys are more likely than girls to use the sites to make new friends (60% vs. 46%). (Hayes, 2007).

Older teens are more likely to use the same site their friends use, typically MySpace, Facebook, or MyYearbook. As users update their content frequently to continue drawing in friends, and as they grow older, their pages evolve toward utility and maturity and away from frantic animations and edgy, repetitive content. (Hayes, 2007).

The Big Three

The three most popular social networking sites are generally agreed to be Facebook, MySpace and Friendster.

Facebook: “Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.”

MySpace: “MySpace is an online community that lets you meet your friends' friends.Users can create a community on MySpace and share photos, journals and interests with a network of mutual friends.”

Friendster: “Friendster is focused on helping people stay in touch with friends and discover new people and things that are important to them. Online adults, 18 and up, choose Friendster to connect with friends, family, school, groups, activities and interests.”

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