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Twitter Stealing Teens from Facebook?

Twitter Stealing Teens from Facebook?
The latest rumble about social networks is the supposition that Twitter is stealing teens from Facebook. This rumour is just one of many that deal with Facebook losing devotees who enjoy the more “grown-up” feel of the microblogging site. When “tweeting” first started it was the stomping ground of celebrities and the rich and famous.

As time has gone by, Twitter became more about self promotion; product and services advertising, and marketing for entrepreneurs the world over. The new social network is also said to be attracting those teenagers who are “more intelligent” than their Facebook cousins who have yet to switch. Of course if you ask the founder Mark Zuckerberg about mass migrations from his site he will deny that droves of teens are leaping off the sinking ship that is Facebook.

Back in September, he spoke to James Bennet editor of the news publication Atlantic. The 29 year-old social media mogul said that they were no longer in the “cool” business. According to some, though, Facebook is on the same downward spiral that MySpace went through at the end of its popularity.

This latest mass teen defection came after the Pew Research Center performed a study and issued their findings in a report. It seems that Twitter has become the place for young educated, techno’s who are more intelligent and educated than the average Facebook user.

Facebook was originally the haven of the young. Older members of the population were not just confused by the site, they actively distrusted it. The older denizens of the world have now come to enjoy the social networking site. Teenagers now have their parents, and god-forbid, grandparents joining the Facebook community in droves. So many older members of society have joined the site that it became both a danger as well as a joke that one’s parents could actually Facebook stalk their offspring.

The Pew report states that only 1 out of 10 adults use Twitter, a miniscule amount compared to the 30 percent who use Facebook as their main news source. The report also says that devotees of the microblogging site are younger and “tech-savvy.”

This sort of information will undoubtedly make Twitter very happy. Deep in the process of setting up an IPO worth billions, the site should expect this news to go over very well with investors. Interestingly, this report also shows that not many American’s use Twitter. Yet for the rapid dissemination of news worthy events the newer social network leads the pack.

Many occurrences, or cataclysmic events are “live tweeted” by participants or bystanders. Not only is the news instantaneously passed on, but, so are photos of the incidents and/or videos. The report also showed that Twitter account holders are more liable to post tweets about breaking news rather than meaningless posts about their children or other mundane Facebook updates.

The Pew Research Center also pointed out in the report that social networks lead to a type of herd mentality. Twitter is also a rapidly flowing expression of opinion that can change from tweet to tweet. Pew says that the microblogging site is not a good “barometer” of social issues.

Apparently, yesterday’s youngsters that loved Facebook above all else, have grown up sticking to their old comfy social network. Twitter has taken over because of the current generation’s quest for fast news and the chance to interact with celebrities on Twitter. The verified accounts on Twitter do not have a real counterpart on Facebook. With a huge portion of youth being addicted to the idea of instant fame, the social network that was initially the home of celebrities has now become the place to post updates.

Another thing that may be driving youngsters into the arms of Twitter is the lack of advertising on the site. Facebook, with its recent move of going public, is littered with advertisements, on top of which are ever changing rules for privacy and profile sharing. Another fixture of the Zuckerberg owned site is that anything one posts on the site, becomes Facebooks to use as they wish. No copyright in that social network.

It is the older user, the ones resistant to change, that have stayed with Zuckerberg’s creation. The young are being stolen by Twitter in ever increasing numbers from the old stalwart Facebook. Like MySpace, the older social network could face redundancy in the near future. Twitter should not rest on its laurels, though, it is just a matter of time before the next social networking phenomenon comes along and steals their followers.

By Michael Smith
United Kingdom

CNN International


The Washington Post