Blogs Declining in Popularity Among Teens, Study Finds

Blogging is so 2003. A report from Pew Research finds teens are abandoning blogs for social networking sites such as Facebook, though Twitter fails to connect with many.

A report by the Pew Research Center found since 2006 blogging has fallen in popularity among teens and young adults while simultaneously rising among older adults. Fourteen percent of online teens now say they blog, down from 28 percent of teen Internet users in 2006. The study found this "Millennial Generation" might be exchanging "macro-blogging" for micro-blogging with status updates on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

The report found the decline in blogging among teens was also reflected in the lower incidence of teens commenting on blogs within social networking Websites; 52 percent of teen social network users report commenting on friends' blogs, down from the 76 percent who did so in 2006. By comparison, the prevalence of blogging within the overall adult Internet population has remained steady in recent years. Pew Internet Project surveys since 2005 have consistently found that roughly one in 10 online adults maintain a personal online journal or blog.

Pew Research reported in December 2007, 24 percent of online 18-29-year-olds reported blogging, compared with 7 percent of those ages 30 and older. By 2009, however, just 15 percent of Internet users ages 18-29 maintained a blog -- a nine-percentage-point drop in two years. However, 11 percent of Internet users ages 30 and older now maintain a personal blog. As blogging has fallen among teens, use of social networks, with the exception of Twitter, is on the rise: Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of wired American teens now use social networking Websites, up from 65 percent in February 2008, while 47 percent of online adults use social networking sites, up from 37 percent in November 2008.

The study found Facebook is currently the most commonly used online social network among adults. Among adult profile owners, 73 percent have a profile on Facebook, 48 percent have a profile on MySpace and 14 percent have a LinkedIn profile. Pew discovered young profile owners are much more likely to maintain a profile on MySpace (66 percent of young profile owners do so, compared with just 36 percent of those thirty and older) but less likely to have a profile on the professionally oriented LinkedIn (seven percent versus 19 percent). In contrast, adult profile owners under 30 and those 30 and older are equally likely to maintain a profile on Facebook (71 percent of young profile owners do so, compared with 75 percent of older profile owners).

Perhaps surprisingly, the study also found teenagers are not using micro-blogging site Twitter in large numbers: Eight percent of Internet users ages 12-17 use Twitter, making the site as common among teens as visiting a virtual world, and far less common than sending or receiving text messages as 66 percent of teens do, or going online for news and political information, done by 62 percent of online teens. One area where Twitter is strong among teens is girls of high school age, who are particularly likely to use Twitter. Thirteen percent of online girls ages 14-17 use Twitter, compared with seven percent of boys that age.