Wednesday, August 15

Young adults decrease blogging, update Internet habits

The number of young bloggers has dropped dramatically in the past four years, according to a recently released survey.

The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found a 14 percent drop in the number of teens who say they blog, down from 28 percent in 2006. Likewise, young adult bloggers aged 18-29 are down by nine percent since 2007.

However, even with this decline among young bloggers, 11 percent of adults aged 30 and older say they use blogs now, which is up from seven percent in 2007.

Despite these differences, both older and younger adults are increasingly using social networking Web sites.

The survey calls this a change from “˜macro-blogging’, which are long blog posts, to “˜micro-blogging’, which are the quick status updates offered by Web sites such as Facebook.

There are a few factors that have contributed to the shift in young people’s preference for micro-blogging, said Aaron Smith, a research specialist at Pew Internet & American Life Project and co-author of the survey.

“The first thing going on here is the broader movement from MySpace, which had a integrated blogging function, to Facebook, which doesn’t put its blogging capabilities up front as MySpace does,” Smith said.

However, Huong Dang, a first-year physiological science student, said her preference for micro-blogging has to do with time constraints.

“I don’t have time to read two pages on someone’s life,” Dang said.

Similarly, she said she does not have the time to write long entries.

Conversely, some students still believe blogs have their uses.

“Status updates are good for something short and sweet,” said Tyler Overvold, a first-year English student. “If I feel the need for more words, though, I’d rather use a blog.”

Overvold blogged using MySpace throughout high school, but stopped after feeling that his privacy was being compromised by an increasing number of friends on the Web site.

In spite of having stopped, Overvold said blogging was a good outlet to express how he was feeling, or what was going on in his life.

Another component in this transition to micro-blogging among young people is the growing popularity of mobile devices, which Smith said many teens and young adults use for social networking.

“Much of the online or digital communications take place in the context of mobile devices, which limit (young people’s) text entry ability,” he said.

While he said he has done activities like updating his Facebook status through using his cell phone, Overvold said he still prefers using a computer.

The increase in blogging by older adults is also easily explainable, Smith said.

“Typically, we see that when new technology comes along, young people are the early adopters of those technologies … it then filters through the early adopters and becomes more prevalent among the population as a whole,” he said.

Just like Overvold, Smith said older adults use blogs as an outlet to communicate various issues, whether about things like jobs or parenting.

“People want to talk about themselves,” he said.

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