Parents and politicians, businesses and professionals use Facebook and Twitter as platforms to socialize and mobilize the masses. These platforms are no longer reliant on tech geeks and earlyvangelists (Earlyvangelists = Early Adopter + Internal Evangelist) to provide them with traffic. Yet there is a distinct divide between how college students and the rest of social media users are participating on these platforms. I have yet to see a friend of mine create a Facebook page (Search Engine Optimized) for a career, say Investment banking, or accounting, law, real estate, even for a business they are trying to startup.
So I ask myself, if we (Gen y) are supposed to be the “plugged in” generation, how come we are not keeping up with the more sophisticated uses of these networks? A study done at the University of South Florida uncovered some of these trends well before I thought of them on my own. Check this:
Of the 250 Florida college students surveyed, 99 percent use social networking sites. However, only 15 percent have an account with Twitter and 34 percent have never even heard of the site. Some 58 percent of the students who have Twitter accounts never use the service or rarely log-on.
I would say this remains true of most student communities even though that data is over a year old. The survey goes on to contrast the popular idea that social media connects brands with consumers, allowing 2 way communication channels where they used to be 1 way. However, the study suggests that college students are not interested in these types of interaction, choosing instead to use social networks for communication among friends.
Another survey done by royal.pingdom shows that social network users ages are trending upward. Facebook, commonly thought of as the “college student” network now has an average user age of 38.4! Twitter, not to far ahead, boasts an average user age of 39.1.
So what are the majority of social media participants using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and niche sites for? Lets create a list and in future posts I’ll elaborate on each (with an emphasis on the college student) and why I, and many others, think it vitally important that students join in these trends.
- Brand promotion
- News Aggregation
- Communication (professional)
- Communication (social)
- Job seeking
Are there any other important uses I may have missed out on?