Hmm. Like, … whatever!!!
The Guardian ran a few reports here and here (one day after another in fact) …. and here. And yesterday Twitter went crazy with a new trending topic when news hit from Nielson that Teens were not tweeting. I guess it all makes a welcome change from people moaning about kids being online all the time and from hearing the wonderment about all our little digital natives who are born wireless and with inbuilt bluetooth (etc.) It is a new refrain that implies disappointment that kids are not obsessed with the latest fad – that it is the oldies who are doing it.
As Apophenia has pointed out many of the tweets on Twitter’s 3rd most trending topic at the moment are from teens protesting that they do tweet.
Le’s face it hardly anyone uses Twitter – a fact you will find confirmed if you announce that you do so, to a bunch of people down the pub (unless they are all your tweeting friends). So it is not a surprise that not many teens tweet – and despite their protests, the tweeting teens don’t seem to be typical – just like their tweeting oldie counterparts.
I think it is interesting as we have become so convinced that all kids are all online and up for technology for technology’s sake, that we are in a state of shock when we find this is the case. Facebook (and Bebo and Myspace etc) offer a space where you can do much more identity work than on Twitter. Facebook lets you play in lots of ways, Facebook is a fun thing to do. Kids seem to prefer it on there and frankly I think are glad if the adults migrate to twitter away from Facebook where they had made a brief and unwelcome appearance. Different online spaces have different affordances and I sense that as we are all maturing in our uses of online spaces, we are making decisions according to what we want from something. We know that teens migrate through the social networking sites as friendships change and develop – switching from Bebo to Myspace, to Facebook (etc.) Twitter may not serve ther purposes so well… for me I closed down Facebook when I realised that all my friends were mixing with colleagues and ex students, present students were all mingling in my space. I found it unnerving to have brothers in with post grads (for example) and could not manage to feel relaxed about writing on my wall in such a social mash-up! Maybe the young don’t have such diverse networks and anyhow worry less about saying things in front of the ‘wrong’ people. For me Twitter is a space where I can custom build my network and have it as a space where I mainly talk as if in work, in my academic comfort zone. It’s like a very select staff room.
So yes … I feel a comparative study coming on … luckily I already have the ethical review complete and can start work on this in September!! And as I said on the blog yesterday, this stuff needs researching from both ends … looking at the data online and the stats … but also TALKING to the people.
In the meantime New Media & Society has this.