Email
Recent Comments
Powered by Squarespace
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Entries in Social Media (1)

Tuesday
Apr132010

Why Don't My Friends Tweet?

There’s a situation I’ve been mulling for quite some time now, and it has come into sharp relief as I’ve been working on this blog the past couple months.  My friends don’t Tweet

Now, this realization doesn’t apply only to Twitter and it doesn’t apply to many people I know.  What I’ve been pondering is the fact that my best friends, the people I talk to weekly, go the bar with, take road trips with, do not use social media nearly as much as I do.  They don’t tweet, don’t comment on blogs, and don’t use Foursquare.  I asked myself, “Why?” 

I thought about how their lifestyles and personalities affected their use of social media.  Here are some characteristics that stood out:

Relationship Status

Do single people tweet more?  Many of the persons in question are in committed relationships, on the doorstep of marriage even.  Love is a beautiful thing, but it takes a lot of work.  Perhaps the energy it takes to have a relationship takes away the desire or at least the free time to communicate on the web.  It makes sense that a close personal relationship takes preference to engaging with media or people on a further circle of friendship. 

Type of Employment

Certain professions are inherently more geared to using social media.  Friends of mine who work in PR or Journalism have much more readily embraced social media, because in many cases their personality is intertwined with their product.  Friends who work in finance or education may not have as much professional incentive to venture into the social realm online. 

Comfort Level with Tech

Partially tied in with employment, the degree of technological savvy is also a determining factor in using social media.  None of my close friends are programmers or engineers, nor do they rely on specialized computer programs for their jobs or hobbies.  Without an innate interest in the technology itself, social media can seem like an extraneous tool that cramps one’s lifestyle instead of enhancing it. 

These categories offer an interesting look into the social media habits of people ages 25-30.  There are always additional factors, however.  Two of my best friends have actively shunned the use of social media for the past five years, ostensibly for the distaste of being associated with the status quo.  One only acquiesced recently because his professional life demanded it. 

Now, while my small focus group is not on Twitter, Last.fm, or YouTube, almost every one of them is on Facebook.  That remains the king of the Internet, and their level of engagement on that site far outweighs any other.  A large chunk of the hits on this blog are directed from Facebook.  Google also garners plenty of attention, with GChat effectively replacing the IM platforms of old like AIM or Messenger, although Buzz has failed to fill any perceived need.

So what did I take away from this admittedly unscientific study?  That as much as social technology begs users to engage with the media they consume, the act remains largely passive.  As much as online profiles allow for narcissism, they also encourage voyeurism.  My group of friends, my generation, has not fully taken advantage of the avenues of communication available on the Internet.  Perhaps that is a good thing, though, as concerns about privacy become more relevant, and so much time in front of a screen can be a bit dehumanizing.  While I will continue to urge my close friends to learn about and have fun using social media, I’m quite happy to keep them close the old-fashioned way.   

Follow me @adamrmcgrath