Chart from Label Networks’ Digital Lifestyle Youth Culture Report 2009

Each year, Label Networks produces a “Digital Lifestyle Youth Culture Report” focusing on various questions and consumer insights from 13-25-year-olds across North America regarding social network patterns, communication, internet patterns, online shopping, website preferences, among many other “digital” lifestyle topics.

New this year, is a series of questions we’ve added about social networks and their power of communication. As we’ve noted in the past, email as a main form of communication among this new generation is slowly fading because it’s seen as a slower, “older” form of communication. What continues to rise is the use of social networks as a form of connecting because of the ability for specific reach and speed available to update friends and family simply by updating one’s profile. In this story, we reveal new data based on more than 6,250 interviews with 13-25-year-olds about how many accounts/profiles on average do they have with social networks.

Overall, based on responses in our upcoming Digital Lifestyle Report (to be released this month), 13-25-year-olds have on average 4 accounts with social networks. This indicates a relatively high volume of profiles and usage patterns for social networks within their digital lifestyle. Many also explained that they may have more than one MySpace page, or several on the same network, whereas others tend to have accounts on a variety of social networks including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter (which many people consider a social network), and one or more with a niche subculture social network site that they find an affinity for.

By gender, the results are also interesting in that females have on average 5 accounts on social networks compared with males averaging 3 accounts. What this indicates is a stronger marketplace or opportunity to reach females via various social networks than males, as well as a differing pattern of communication and social identity -i.e., females tend to use this new media format more frequently than males.

By age groups, all average 4 accounts on social networks, but among 15-17-year-olds, the average increases to 5 accounts. Generally, we see that starting at 13, young people tend to first start with a MySpace account, then the number increases at 15-17, and often moving into opening a Facebook account the older they get (and sometimes dropping MySpace).

Overall, the results quantify just how important social networks are to youth culture today. With so many accounts on various networks, this indicates a strong format for communication and creating individual identity. As many people stated, it’s faster and easier to simply update one’s profile page rather than the slower method of emailing everyone what you’re up to, or specific personal news. In addition with social networks, the youth marketplace is able to “invite” who they want to communicate with, while also feeling a part of a group of “friends” -meaning those who have like-minded interests, whether or not you actually know the person invited into your network or not.

This form of communication and expression has implications for vast changes in just how to reach this new generation, and also brings to the forefront how social network usage is morphing as a key communication tool while others are fading.

For more information about the Digital Lifestyle Youth Culture Study 2009, email