Excerpt from Label Networks’ Digital Lifestyle Youth Culture Profile Report 2009

A recent article about a 15-year-old intern at Morgan Stanley that made the front page of the Financial Times regarding his media and communication patterns has caught our attention. Not because of what the kid is saying–here at Label Networks we have data to support most of what he says–but the fact that many financial advisors and CEO’s from various top marketing and advertising firms simply cannot believe this kid.

In the article, the intern Matthew Robson explains that most of his peers don’t tweet, among other things. In our Digital Lifestyle Youth Culture Report 09 to be released next week, we have data that proves many of the issues brought up by Robson’s report and why. Let’s take a look.

First, when looking at 13-25-year-olds across North America, one reason why many people don’t post tweets (vs. reading others) is because they simply aren’t into updating their tweets–which they see in many cases they as a reason to get people to their profile pages which is where they communicate more so than via tweets. Because they already update their social network profiles on average some 4 times per day, updating one’s tweet is an added burden. We also discovered that on average, 13-25-year-olds have 4 to 5 different social profiles, which makes having a Twitter account just an extra thing. In addition, tweeting from one’s cell phone costs money and most would rather spend this on texting friends directly -not one’s twitterati.

By Age chart from Label Networks about features youth market about importance of features

However when it comes to things that young people would like more tools for via cell phone and portable devices (i.e., Wii) is the “Ability to design one’s profile using HTML code.” In this chart by age groups, clearly, the younger the demographic the higher this feature is of extreme importance, peaking at 46.7% of 13-14-year-olds and 39.7% of 15-17-year-olds. This is a market opportunity for portable devices and/or cell phone companies.

One reason why updating one’s profile is of such importance is because communicating via one’s profile page is one of the main ways that young people communicate. It’s easier, faster, and more creative than say, simply emailing someone (which is like tweeting in a way). And if you’re going to do that, than like we stated previously, texts are the most direct way.

Top features overall of social networks by 13-25-year-olds in North America by Label Networks

When asked, “What do you do mostly on social networks?” the #1 response is Uploading photos at 80.7% followed by Finding/adding Friends at 79.5%, and Sending Messages to friends at 79.4% (The reason percentages add up to more than 100% is because respondents could choose more than one answer.)
70.9% say they use social networks for “What you are doing updates” which also accounts for the reason why they don’t necessarily use Twitter.

Interestingly, like video gaming, Twitter is an older person’s thing. Ages 25-45 are more interested in video gaming via traditional platforms (but not portable devices such as Wii and cell phone games and it should be pointed out that the average age video gamer is 32) and things like Twitter. Twitter to many people is used as a cross-platform of communication but also as a personal or business promotion tool -which is not what younger demographics use it for.

A final point to note is that looking at where young people get their information from. When asked “Which type of internet sites do you get your information from mostly?” the top sites are social networks, with 65.9% of females and 56.1% of males. Twitter as a response to this question is higher among females at 44.8% compared with only 17.8% of males indicating that females are more into Twitter than males for communication and information, however even females in younger demographics say they are more apt to communicate via their social network profile page (and get information from other social networks) than Twitter.

Overall, this represents yet another interesting generation gap with the generation of new media users.

For more information about Label Networks’ Digital Lifestyle Youth Culture Profile Report 2009, email info@labelnetworks.com; (323) 630-4000. This report is free for Premium subscribers.