Your father’s social networking site?

After the rash of articles about how “young people” don’t use e-mail anymore (and, by the way, how in the world does that work??? IM is a nice tool and I use it too, but it can’t seriously be an e-mail replacement, can it?) it is now being reporrted that the majority of MySpace visitors and a significant portion of visitors to other social networking sites are over 35 [via Clicked].
First, I spent some time poking around the comScore website trying to figure out exactly how they determine the demograpics they claim to be measuring with their Mdia Metrix but have not found anything. So, I’m maintaining reservations about the reliability of the data, though they are taking a good sized sample.
But if one takes the results as accurate, a couple of other interesting facts fall out. For example, the press release says that MySpace and Friendster are skewing older, but that Facebook attracts a college-aged demographic and Xanga a teen to pre-teen demographic. This is true in one view of the data – of the 18-24 year olds viewing a social networking site, the largest percentage, 34%, are visiting Facebook. But, and this is of particular relevance to all of those students who say that Facebook is a closed setting, 41% of the visitors to Facebook are 35 or older. The niche theory seems flawed. In particular, it seems that younger users are more likly to flock to the newest systems, whereas older users, often with less free time on their hands, will stick with something that is working for them. Hardly a shock – isn’t this why so much advertising targets the teen and young adult markets?

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