Teenagers and young adults spent less time blogging during the past three years as social networks like Facebook became more popular, according to a Pew Research Center study released Wednesday.
Still, one social network, Twitter, has failed to catch on with the vast majority of younger teenagers, according to the Pew study of social media and mobile Internet use among teens and young adults.
The study conducted by the Washington, D.C., nonprofit think tank was designed to gauge the online habits of America’s “millennial generation,” a demographic group that is considered a bellwether of the nation’s future technology trends.
The results indicate blogging has become so 2006, when 28 percent of the two groups studied, teens 12 to 17 and young adults 18 to 29, actively blogged.
By the fall of 2009, that percentage dropped off to only 14 percent of teens and 15 percent of young adults as blogging “lost its luster for many young users,” said Amanda Lenhart, one of the report’s authors.
Lenhart said one reason for the shift might have come from the rapid ascent of Facebook over MySpace to the top of the social media charts in the past year. The MySpace format encourages members to blog, while Facebook instead features short status updates, she said.
Palo Alto’s Facebook was used by 73 percent of young adults, compared with 48 percent for MySpace and 14 percent for the professional network LinkedIn, based in Mountain View.
About 52 percent of those surveyed had memberships in more than one social network, up from 42 percent in 2008.
Meanwhile, only 40 percent of adults age 30 and older used social media sites in 2009, although among that group, blogging activities increased to 11 percent from 7 percent three years earlier.
Twitter usage, however, showed the opposite trend. Only 8 percent of online teens said they had ever used the San Francisco microblogging service, a result that reflects previous research that indicated Twitter – unlike other online technologies – is not being driven by younger audiences. Teens clearly preferred sending text messages – 66 percent – to tweeting.
The Pew study found 19 percent of the adults polled used Twitter or similar services to post or view online status updates, although Lenhart noted the questions posed to that group were not the same asked of the younger group, so the results might not be exactly comparable.
The study also found:
— 59 percent of young adults owned a video game console like a Microsoft Xbox or Sony PlayStation, and 22 percent owned a portable gaming device like a Sony PSP or Nintendo DS. The percentages were even greater for teens – 80 percent had a game console and 51 percent owned a portable.
— Almost 4 in 5 teenagers, 79 percent, owned an iPod or MP3 player.
— Of teens, 62 percent went online to get news of current events or politics.
— More young adults, 66 percent, owned a laptop computer than a desktop, 53 percent.
And 81 percent of young adults who went online did so wirelessly, compared with 63 percent of adults age 30 to 49 and 34 percent of adults 50 and older.
“Young adults have really created this detached, mobile lifestyle,” Lenhart said.
For the study, 2,253 adults age 18 and older and 800 teenagers age 12 to 17 were interviewed last summer.
Previous Pew results released from the same research found that 15 percent of teens sent or received sexually suggestive messages, called “sexting,” and that 1 in 3 teens have sent text messages while driving.