Blogging not so big with teenagers anymore

Ronny Kerr · February 4, 2010 · Short URL:

Teens and young adults are turning away from blogs to social networks like Facebook, says Pew report

teenager bloggingI guess blogs just aren't cool anymore.

According to a Pew Internet Project report released Wednesday, teens and young adults are blogging less than they used to, while older adults are blogging more.

In 2006, 28% of online teens were blogging, but now that number has been halved to just 14%. Young adults (18-29 year olds) also have been giving up the practice, with only 15% of that demographic maintaining a blog, as opposed to the 24% reported in December 2007. Older adults (30+ year olds) represent the only group to have marked an increase in blogging, from 7% in December 2007 to 11% in 2009.

Pew cites the rising popularity of social networks, especially Facebook, as a viable reason for the dwindling number of young bloggers, hypothesizing that "youth may be exchanging ‘macro-blogging’ for microblogging with status updates." Though by November 2006 over half (55%) of wired teens had connected to social networks, that number has now increased to 73%. That means nearly three in every four online young Americans maintains a social profile.

The social sites being used by each group also varies.

One is much more likely to find a young user on MySpace and an older user on LinkedIn, but Facebook seems to be in control of some place right in the middle. 66% of young users and 36% of adults maintain profiles on MySpace. On the other hand, 7% of young users and 19% of adults have accounts on LinkedIn. Finally, 71% of young users and 75% of adults own Facebook profiles.

Interestingly, Twitter doesn't play at all into these figures. Only 8% of teenagers use Twitter.

In its report, Pew also found that among younger users laptops have gradually replaced desktops as the computing device of choice and mobile phones are "ubiquitous." Internet use, too, is expected amongst younger users.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.