Twitter and Generation Y

I attended a Social Media conference on Saturday.   One of the talks was from entrepreneur and social media enthusiast, Jonathan Kochis, and he discussed the emerging popularity of Twitter.   What age group do you think Twitter is most popular?  One would suspect the Generation Y (people born between 1980 and 1995) crowd, because they were the early adopters of popular social media websites such as Facebook and MySpace.    However, the latest surveys here and here show that the Generation X (people born between 1964 to 1979) crowd were the ones driving the recent Twitter phenomenon.

Mr. Kochis explained how youth interact with social media.  He mentioned several insights from a report from the MacArthur Foundation, which studied youth and their online behaviors.   Some of the insights included: young adults and teenagers tend to have no patience, low reading and research skills compared to Generation X adults.   Generation Ys mostly use the internet to connect, to share and to make plans with friends.  They also use these tools to maintain friendships rather than find new ones.  Whereas, Generation X adults tended to use the internet for research and for work.   They also use the social media tools to organize events, issues and causes.  Making new business and professional contacts as well as promoting oneself and their work are used more often with Generation X than Generation Y.

Twitter is a great tool to organize events, to make new business contacts and to promote oneself.  It is also mostly text-based (140 characters or less).  None of these attributes attract the Generation Y crowd.  Twitter can be used to attract and maintain weak ties to people.   Random people who may use the Twitter search to find keywords can add random users.  The Generation Y crowd seeks to maintain friendships, and there is a need to find tools that strengthen these strong ties.  Facebook, IM (e.g. MSN Messenger, Adium, etc.)  and SMS texting are all very personal and very direct.

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you agree with this analysis?


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