Blogging loses its cool

Teenagers are dumping blogging and instead settling for that always-on, location-based connection from their iPods and smartphones. According to a report released by the Pew Research Center, blogging has declined particularly for both teens and young adults since 2006. (See Figure 1 to the right, courtesy Pew Research Center.) The Pew Research Study results, announced on Feb. 3, showed:

• 14 percent of online teens now say they blog, which is only half what it was in 2006.

• Fewer teens comment on blogs associated with social networking Web sites; 52 percent of teen social network users report commenting on friends' blogs, down from the 76 percent who did so in 2006.

• Since 2005, only one in 10 online adults maintain a personal online journal or blog.

Measured across the four-year period, blogging decreased for younger and increased somewhat with older Internet users:

• In December 2007, 24 percent of online 18- to 29-year-olds reported blogging. By 2009, that number had dropped by almost half, to just 15 percent of these users maintaining a blog. That represents a nine-percentage-point drop in two years.

Other survey results:

• A high majority (74 percent) of wired American teens now use social networking Web sites. That is an increase from 55 percent in November 2006 and 65 percent in February 2008.

• As the teen social networking population has increased, the popularity of these sites' features has shifted. Compared with the 2008 study, Pew found that a smaller proportion of teens now are sending daily messages to friends via social networking sites. "Youth may be exchanging macro-blogging for micro-blogging with status updates," say the authors of the study, referring to the popularity of sharing life updates in terse text messages like those used for SMS. Even so, it seems that teens are not using Twitter in large numbers. One-third of young adults (18-29) are likely users of Twitter. As the user’s age increases, the use of Twitter falls. (See Figure 2 below, courtesy Pew Research Center.)

• Facebook is currently the most commonly used online social network among adults. Among adult profile owners, 73 percent have a profile on Facebook, 48 percent have a profile on MySpace, and 14 percent have a LinkedIn profile.

• Laptops have replaced desktops for the mobile generation, especially for those under 30. Two-thirds of young adults own a laptop or notebook, while 53 percent own a desktop computer.

Virtually everyone is connected to the Internet. Of those ages 12-29, 93 percent use the Internet, while 74 percent of all adults over 18 use the Internet. Figure 3 (right), courtesy Pew Research Center, shows how teens have consistently been the most numerous to adapt and use the Internet.

While the FCC is claiming a crisis in broadband, this survey shows that almost 100 percent of American teenagers (school-age folks) already use the Internet. Even the baby boomers are heavily invested in the Internet, with a usage rate of 74 percent.