FT.com – Most UK youth on social networking sites

Link: FT.com / World / UK – Most UK youth on social networking sites.

Most of the papers today have picked up on this story:

"More than half of the UK’s 16-24 year olds are using social networking sites such as MySpace and Bebo at least once a week, as the “networked generation” turns its back on television, radio and newspapers in favour of online communities.

More than 70 per cent of 16-24 year olds polled by Ofcom told the communications regulator they visited such sites, and 54 per cent used them at least weekly."

However, as the FT pointed out last week, this is a fickle demographic – they’ll probably turn into newspaper reading 29 year olds – and tomorrow’s 16 – 24 year olds will probably view MySpace et al as very old hat….



  1. I don’t know if it is a particularly fickle demographic in this context, Andrew.

    Online communities/social networking sites were becoming mainstream in Scandinavia around the turn of the century, somewhat ahead of the English-speaking world. Membership has remained high, even as younger (and older) people signed up – the user experience has been improving throughout that time.

    It would be interesting to learn if there has been a significant negative effect on newspaper readership, but my gut instinct is that it hasn’t.



  2. I guess I meant fickle in the sense of loyalty to one particular community rather than another – not necessarily to online communities per se (which clearly are here for the long haul).

    Perhaps I’m showing my age. I remember back in 1990 when CIX was the place to be (admittedly even then it was still a small hang out, compared with say, The Well, in the US). Then CompuServe came along in the UK, superceded by AOL, with the Internet in turn leading to the kind of communities we have now.

    My point being that the history of online communities so far suggests a cycle of popularity and decline – then again, maybe this time things are different.


  3. Oh, I completely agree that people will be fickle when it comes to which communities they they choose to belong – I think we’re in agreement that as a rule, they’re here to stay for a while.


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