Massive UK study on social networking site use

Ofcom, the “independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries,” released a 63-page report today on social networking sites. I’m reading it right now, and so far, it looks to be a great mirror to research being conducted at Pew Internet on social networking sites, especially research on young people’s use of the sites.

Here are some of the big stats the report reveals:

  • 49% of children 8-17 have an online profile
  • 22% of 16+ have an online profile
  • On average adults have profiles on 1.6 sites
  • 63% of 8 to 17-year-olds with a profile use Bebo
  • 37% of 8 to 17-year-olds with profile use MySpace
  • 18% of 8 to 17-year-olds with a profile use Facebook
  • 59% of 8 to 17-year-olds use social networks to make new friends
  • 16% of parents do not know if their child’s profile is visible to all
  • 33% of parents say they set no rules for their children’s use of social networks
  • 43% of children say their parents set no rules for use of social networks

Check out a .pdf of the whole report here.

Check out some of Pew’s recent reports related to this topic here and here.

Twitxr mashes up Twitter and Flickr; Vitak’s head subsequently explodes

I guess you could say I’m still new to this tech-heavy lifestyle I’ve thrown myself into over the last six months as I write my master’s thesis, but the seemingly nonstop, daily influx of new companies with ever-so-slight variations on the original is slowly driving me crazy. I wonder if I would have survived the tech bubble of the 90s, or if, in the end, I would have blown up my computer to get away from the insanity. Luckily, I was a naive little college student back then, without a care in the world past my next keg stand.

Now, however, keeping up on this stuff is part of my job and my education, so there will be no computer explosions in my house anytime soon (that, and my house is really old, so it’d probably burn down in under 30 seconds, which would totally suck). Don’t get me wrong, I’m fascinated with a lot of the new social networking sites launching every few milliseconds, but I have never particularly liked Twitter, and I don’t like posting my pictures for the whole world to see, so I haven’t yet caved to the massive powers of Flickr. So why in the world would I want them combined?

Well, that exacty what Twitxr has done my friends. Here we have one of the newest social networking site (it just launched this week), which is for all intensive purposes Twitter with pictures. Now, you can twit about photos you take on your cell phone, basically allowing people to follow your every last move as it happens — or at least shortly after it happens. Find some funny graffiti in a public bathroom? Send it on over! Amazed at how pretty your fancy, $175 entrée costs and want to show everyone that you’re a real spender? Post it up! Want to show the whole world how lame you are because you feel the need to share every minute of your day? Please, indulge us. We love it!

Ugh, sometimes this social connectivity and identity sharing starts to wear me down. It’s like we’ve all just given up on the hope of keeping any part of our lives private. Hold strong people, hold strong!

New blog post on Pew Internet Project website

I seem to be blogging everywhere but on this site as of late. Well, that’s what happens when you agree to do too much “real” work and don’t have any time left over for “fun” work, like blogging on this site.

Here’s my latest Pew Internet project blog, which came out of a data memo I wrote on the major predictions related to technology in 2008.

GTalk, AIM, MSN, Meebo, ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger, oh my… god, will you stop already?

Meebo logo
As we are all acutely aware of by this point, the face of interpersonal communication has undergone quite a transformation in the last decade. I still clearly remember the thrill of chatting with friends and strangers (and, unfortunately, perverts) more than 10 years ago when I first signed up for AOL. Today, we have a ridiculous number of options in online chatting capabilities, from the old standard AIM, to the more international MSN, to the tech nerdy ICQ and the current obsession of my friends, GTalk. One would think these platforms would all be integrated by now so that when I sign into GMail, my AIM list magically appears under my GChatting buddies. Makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN integrated more than a year ago. And I know Google never likes it when Microsoft (or Yahoo! for that matter) beats them to the punch.

Well, for those of you dying to maintain all seventeen of your chat lists in one central location, I do have some good news for you. Google and AIM are currently working out some kinks and expect to launch AIM in GMail “in the near future,” whatever that means.

Alternatively, for those who have yet to hear about Meebo, this site actually does allow you to bring in your contacts from MSN, Yahoo!, GTalk, AIM, ICQ and Jabber in one, big, AIM-looking list. It’s a rather blah-looking site, without the charm of GTalk in my opinion (and, of course, without having your email right there to check and send messages). For me, I’ve pretty much abandoned AIM, although there are a few friends on it who I don’t talk to via GChat. But overall, I prefer just my GTalk.

I wonder if government employees who can’t sign into GMail can sign into Meebo…that would be quite the gem.

[Thanks, TechCrunch]

Twits twitter twins twice


Dear Twitter,

You are quite a mysterious SNS. I’m slightly confused by you. Your sole purpose is to accumulate the equivalent of Facebook statuses from all members, even though most have no connection whatsoever, and post them in a neverending list? Very interesting. I’m intrigued. Enough so that I decided to join your little site today in my continuing effort to master the world of social networking online. I have yet to see your true significance, little site, so you better work hard to impress me or I may have to drop you like a bad habit.