Bokardo summarizes some of the stats from the Pew Study on Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview. I’m not surprised at all by these findings:
“A social networking site is an online place where a user can create a profile and build a personal network that connects him or her to other users. In the past five years, such sites have rocketed from a niche activity into a phenomenon that engages tens of millions of internet users. More than half (55%) of all online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites, according to a new national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The survey also finds that older teens, particularly girls, are more likely to use these sites. For girls, social networking sites are primarily places to reinforce pre-existing friendships; for boys, the networks also provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends.”
It pretty much indicates that teens use these sites to keep in constant communication with existing networks and friends. The interesting thing is that these relationships are now being done in full public, which has it’s advantages for rapid communication vs concerns over privacy.
BTW, I recently subscribed to Bokardo’s feed, he’s really got a very high signal to noise, focused on the intersection of Web UX and Social Media and I enjoy his thoughtful and analytical posts.