Now this may sound like a strange question. Social networking sites have traditionally been aimed at the younger user. Well, when I say younger I mean under 30 really. Faceparty was one of the first to hit it big and then followed Facewhore which seemed to consist mainly of teenage alternative kids from the UK. Facewhore never really caught on as it was almost always broken and only worked properly on Internet Explorer. Us trendy kids then moved over to Myspace. Everyone added music to their profiles and perfected the Myspace angles (taking a picture of yourself from above which makes fat people look thinner and more attractive).
And then came Facebook. The Guardian tech site wrote about it everyday as if it was the second coming of Christ. Whilst the site was originally designed for university students in the US when it opened up to wider audiences it seemed to attract people that wouldn’t usually use social networking sites. Non teenage and non alternative people suddenly had a Facebook… Even some people’s mums.
Now the new thing has arrived and most of you will know it’s Twitter. The micro blogging site that limits you to 140 characters per post and is championed by celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross. I signed up to the site and spent a few weeks posting to no one (I had one maybe two followers) but enjoyed reading tweets from Fry and Jhonen Vasquez. Now I’ve found an app in Facebook that updates my status as I update Twitter so at least I’m sending my messages to a wider audience.
Now this is where I come to my main point. I only know of a few people that use Twitter and they are almost all over 30 at least. I’ve asked a few people to sign up but most people aren’t at all interested. The usual younger people that sign up to every social networking site going haven’t joined Twitter and I have a few theories why.
1) Facebook already provides the main function of Twitter with status updates.
2) Pictures and increasingly video play a large role in Facebook’s popularity. Posting photos and videos from a party or night out is an almost inevitable occurance. When the booze is flowing and someone pulls out their camera phone you just know that you’re going to be checking Facebook in the morning to fill in the gaps.
Twitter doesn’t really provide this function. You upload a small avatar and can post pictures to Twitpic but it doesn’t have the social links to other people’s profiles that Facebook has.
This second reason is interesting. Young people enjoy having a rich online presence. Just the other day I spent an hour or two looking through old personal sites that my friends and I had built back in 2002. There were hundreds of photos and even videos of our drunken antics. Sharing photos and snooping on friends and enemies pages are what the majority of Facebook users do. Not having that on Twitter probably puts a lot of people off. This, however, probably appeals to a lot of older people that are less interested in flirting and gloting about how crap that girl looked at that party.
So… Am I too young for Twitter or am I just waiting for my twenty-sounthing year old peers to catch up and get with the cool new thing?
– Post From My iPhone