Boys and Girls Use Social Sites Differently

“Older teenage girls are far more likely than younger girls, or boys of any age, to use social-networking sites like MySpace or Facebook, according to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. 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. “Older boys are much more expansive in their use of the sites,” said Amanda Lenhart, one of the study’s two authors. “I believe that it has a lot to do with socialization. A lot of the media messages about safety tend to be aimed more at girls than boys.”

Other highlights:

  • 55% of online teens have created a personal profile online, and 55% have used social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook.
  • 48% of teens visit social networking websites daily or more often; 26% visit once a day, 22% visit several times a day.
  • 91% of all social networking teens say they use the sites to stay in touch with friends they see frequently, while 82% use the sites to stay in touch with friends they rarely see in person.
  • 72% of all social networking teens use the sites to make plans with friends; 49% use the sites to make new friends.
  • 85% of teens who have created an online profile say the profile they use or update most often is on MySpace, while 7% update a profile on Facebook. Another 1% tend to a primary profile on Xanga. Smaller numbers told us they have profiles at places like Yahoo, Piczo, Gaiaonline and

Via the New York Times & Pew Internet (.pdf)

What it means:

  1. Reach & Critical mass: a majority of teenagers use social networking sites
  2. Frequency & Stickiness: almost 50% of users visit the sites every day
  3. Relationships: most teenagers will use the social networking sites to stay in touch with their friends
  4. Planning: 72% use the sites to make plans with friends (possibly which movie they want to see, which restaurant they should meet, at which friend’s house do they meet, etc.) Lots of potential local conversations!