Attention Seeker or Rejecter?

I finally managed to read the interesting Ofcom’s Research Report on Social Networking (dated 2 April 2008), which used a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

SNS (like MySpace, Facebook or Bebo) are of course most popular with teenagers and younger adults. Over one fifth (22%) of adult internet users aged 16+ and
almost half (49%) of children aged 8-17 who use the internet have set up their own profile on a social networking site. For adults, the likelihood of setting up a profile is highest among 16-24 year olds (54%) and decreases with age.

The researchers „detected“ or better, construed distinct groups of social networkers, based on their attitudes and behaviours:

Alpha Socialisers – (a minority) people who used sites in intense short bursts to flirt, meet new people, and be entertained – the majority is male, under 25.
Attention Seekers – (some) teens to 35+, especially mothers resp. females who craved attention and comments from others, often by posting photos and customising their profiles.,
Followers – (many) people who joined sites to keep up with what their peers were doing.
Faithfuls – (many 20+) people who typically used social networking sites to rekindle old friendships, often from school or university.
Functionals – (a minority ) people (older males) who tended to be single-minded in using sites for a particular purpose.

Even the non-users of social networking sites fall into distinct groups, based on their reasons for not using social network sites.
• people concerned about safety online, in particular making personal details available online.
• Technically inexperienced – people who lack confidence in using the internet and computers.
• Intellectual rejecters – people who have no interest in social networking sites and see them as a waste of time.

The report or a pdf-presentation can be downloaded here

If you don’t want to read, there’s a video on the findings.

I’m trying to decide where I would place myself within these groups. The main problem is that I’m a member of 2 SNS, but don’t frequent them very often, if so, mainly for research purposes. Does this make me a rejecter? On the other hand, I see how my students often make good use of the sites, they make friends, exchange information, work on their profiles, opinions and values, so basically, I don’t see them as a waste.

Thanks to Gustavo G for the network poster via flickr.


Lydia said...

Wow, Francessa, that was some interesting information! I don't belong to any of those groups, except Classmates.com and I haven't looked in on it for a half-year. What you said the other day about the blogosphere being exciting but exhausting to the newcomer would seem to translate over to social networking as well, I'd suppose.
What age group do you teach?

My brother is having heart surgery on Thursday in Duluth, Minnesota. I'm up late because I'm full of nervous energy. I pray he'll be fine.

francessa said...

Thanks, lydia! You’re absolutely right about the amount of time and energy one can put into blogging as well as social networking, especially in the beginning. Some of my students spend hours each day working on their profiles, checking their friends’ profiles, designing their sites, up- and downloading music and photos and more. They’re between 15 and 19, and get a very specific training where they work for five days and go to school for 1 or two days.

All the best for your brother’s surgery and quick recovery! Will you keep me informed? I had a good look at Duluth via Google Earth ☺

Lydia said...

My brother is out of intensive care and in a regular part of the hospital. What a relief! My cousin who lives in Duluth is an RN in a nursing facility and she hoped if he needed interim care they would place him there. It appears that he will go home directly from the hospital, where my nieces are going to share care (they both live in Richmond, Virginia). It's fun that you visited Duluth on amazing Google Earth. Duluth is a pretty town; I'll have to look at it on GEarth, also.
Thanks for your concern about my brother. I feel calmer now.

francessa said...

Hi lydia, that's very good news, thank you! I hope, he will recover quickly! Glad, you're calmer now, such things are always such a strain.

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