Social Media and Young Adults — Pew

None of this is a surprise to me, but I’m glad to have statistics to back up my impressions. A very small handful of students whose first introduction to online social networking was the SHU blogosphere, before blogs went really mainstream around 2005, are still blogging here, after they have graduated.

In 2003-2005 it was fairly common for students to post jokes, spread memes, and keep up with each other on the SHU weblogs. Once students started arriving at SHU with a rich and full social network (first via LiveJournal, then Facebook), their expectations of what to do on the SHU blogs changed.  Blogging became much more like homework, and I developed a rubric that tried to preserve the gift economy of posting comments, and that also gave students permission to post short, matter-of-fact entries if they didn’t have anything in particular to say — with the expectation that at least some of their entries should show depth, and a higher level of peer interaction.

As with any homework assignment, there’s a percentage of every class where the students will go above and beyond my expectations; there’s a percentage that will do decent work and then stop once they meet the requirements; there’s a percentage that will do the bare minimum, and there’s a percentage that just doesn’t get around to doing it.

I’ll be digging more into this subject in a paper for Computers and Writing, so I’m glad I came across these figures.

Blogging has declined in popularity among both teens and young adults since 2006. Blog commenting has also dropped among teens.

  • 14% of online teens now say they blog, down from 28% of teen internet users in 2006.
  • This decline is also reflected in the lower incidence of teen commenting on blogs within social networking websites; 52% of teen social network users report commenting on friends’ blogs, down from the 76% who did so in 2006.
  • By comparison, the prevalence of blogging within the overall adult internet population has remained steady in recent years. Pew Internet surveys since 2005 have consistently found that roughly one in ten online adults maintain a personal online journal or blog.

While blogging among adults as a whole has remained steady, the prevalence of blogging within specific age groups has changed dramatically in recent years. Specifically, a sharp decline in blogging by young adults has been tempered by a corresponding increase in blogging among older adults.

  • In December 2007, 24% of online 18-29 year olds reported blogging, compared with 7% of those thirty and older.
  • By 2009, just 15% of internet users ages 18-29 maintain a blog–a nine percentage point drop in two years. However, 11% of internet users ages thirty and older now maintain a personal blog.

Both teen and adult use of social networking sites has risen significantly, yet there are shifts and some drops in the proportion of teens using several social networking site features. —Pew