In technology, more than other life categories, we tend to see individuals pigeonholed according to age. The assumption that the youngest of our peers are the most tech-savvy is a popular view that is not necessarily supported by fact.
An article in the New York Times gives us some surprising statistics concerning the exponential growth of social networking site twitter . The 18 and under demographic, aka the internet generation, is not responsible for the growth of the site, it is, by and large populated and popularized by the 18-35 age group (gen y).
“[The 18-year-old’s] reluctance to use Twitter, a feeling shared by others in her age group, has not doomed the microblogging service. Just 11 percent of its users are aged 12 to 17, according to comScore. Instead, Twitter’s unparalleled explosion in popularity has been driven by a decidedly older group. That success has shattered a widely held belief that young people lead the way to popularizing innovations. – New york Times
This is not only true of Twitter, take a look at this information from Facebook’s website…
* More than 250 million active users
* More than 120 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day
* More than two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college
* The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older
This is an important realization, especially in terms of marketing. When we set out to create a campaign that will utilize social networks to carry our message it is important to realize who we are delivering that message to. As it turns out, Twitter is a better place to connect to the 34 year old father of two than the 17 year old who sends out 10,000 texts a month.
This will be increasingly true as time goes on. In ten years time , we will see generation x take the place of the baby boomers in terms of age, social networking will be a communication as foreign of a conceptas the cell phone is today. Gone is the day when we can assume that social networks are for the young.