According to today’s New York Times Twitter‘s success isn’t being driven by teenagers. In fact it’s being driven by almost every other demographic. This seems surprising at one level but not at others. Teens spend more time text messaging than on sites like Twitter. Indeed teens account for only 9% of Facebook’s users according to today’s article. This shows that Twitter and Facebook are being driven by people with an income, rather than people who have an allowance. Which in turn suggests that the value of these social media properties that has been so wildly elevated, is probably justified.
The rampant success of sites like Facebook and Twitter makes me believe there may be another generation of social media sites about to truly explode. Twitter appears to be doing well in part because it enables communities to form around a person’s comments even though many of those people involved don’t know each other. Facebook is quite the reverse, deliberately so. I therefor love that places like Ning and Grouply are tapping into the intersection of these sites. Grouply, for example turns old style Yahoo! or Google Groups into vertical social networks. In other words they allow you to build a version of Facebook just for the 2000 people who love a certain obscure hobby. The cool thing is that unlike Facebook, you don’t have to know these people to join the group. In that way they are bit like Twitter where you can follow a stranger’s Tweets. I’m sure that at some point a site like Grouply will get bought by someone like Facebook or Twitter so they can open up this market to their millions of users and in the process offer advertisers another way to reach an interest group. From a PR perspective, a place like Grouply is fascinating as it also gives you a way to find some very influential communities AND to learn what their conversations are.