This week, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released the results of its fall 2009 survey focusing on the internet habits of teenagers (defined as 12 to 17) and Millennials (18 to 29).
While it's not necessarily news that teens haven't jumped on the Twitter train yet, what is interesting is the drop in teen activity on blogs. The study found that 14% of online teens were blogging, compared to 28% just in 2006. Additionally the number of teens commenting on blogs has dropped from 76% to 52% since 2006.
But this report isn't about changes in teen attitudes over the past few years. What it's highlighting is the result of drastic changes in the social media landscape.
In 2006, college-oriented Facebook was just two years old when it changed the social media game by opening up to high school students. Soon after, the city and regional networks would open it up to the entire world (and their cats).
Until then, blogging had been the best option for teens who wanted to express themselves and share with their friends. The problem is that blogging is a largely open form of communication and teens are a notoriously private bunch. Teenagers blogged because it was one of the only social channels available to them, not because it was necessarily the best fit.
Outside of LiveJournal, few blogging sites provided the level of privacy and security that teenagers want. So it’s not surprising that, as soon as they had the option, teenagers retreated from the blogosphere and embraced Facebook, with its privacy settings, networks, friend requests, pictures, status updates, and so many groups, pages, and apps your head could explode with opportunities for self-expression.