22 January 2008

Girls Dominate Online Content Creation

Last week the Pew Internet & American Life Project issued a report about "Teens and Social Media." I learned about it from a Publishers Weekly article that turned out to be a barely rewritten version of the study abstract, so I might as well quote the original:

Content creation by teenagers continues to grow, with 64% of online teenagers ages 12 to 17 engaging in at least one type of content creation, up from 57% of online teens in 2004.

Girls continue to dominate most elements of content creation. Some 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys, and 54% of wired girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys.

Boys, however, do dominate one area - posting of video content online. Online teen boys are nearly twice as likely as online girls (19% vs. 10%) to have posted a video online somewhere where someone else could see it.
It's indeed rare to find videos of girls skateboarding into walls, shutting themselves in refrigerators, or doing the other stuff that gets onto YouTube. (I wrote that sentence first, then went to YouTube to find examples. It took three minutes.)

Notably, both the study and its subjects define "content creation" to include commenting on other people's content.

The study abstract concludes (warns?):
There is a subset of teens who are super-communicators -- teens who have a host of technology options for dealing with family and friends, including traditional landline phones, cell phones, texting, social network sites, instant messaging, and email. They represent about 28% of the entire teen population and they are more likely to be older girls.
I've got a character like that in one of my current writing projects, and I'm worried about keeping up with her. Already I'm out of my depth on texting abbreviations, and I haven't signed her onto any of the social-networking sites yet.

(Clicking on the picture above takes you to Mark Glaser's essay "How Cell Phones Are Killing Face-to-Face Interactions," or "Perpetuating Generational Stereotypes in Only 1,400 Words." Tonight PBS's Frontline series premieres a show called “Growing Up Online.”)

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