The MySpace Deletion Problem

Recently, Edison Research conducted a survey of 12-24 year-olds in America to gauge their media consumption habits, technology adoption and attitudes towards the Internet, traditional media, social media and more. One of the more noteworthy findings of this study (“The American Youth Study – 2010“) involved 12-24 usage of various social networking websites.

First of all, 12-24 year-old Americans are clearly hooked on Facebook. While you might have guessed this, the sheer magnitude of Facebook usage amongst this demographic continues to amaze me, as approximately three-quarters of all Americans in this age group use Facebook at least occasionally, with over half reporting “active” usage.

MySpace usage is also significant here, though it is trending in the other direction. First, the positive news: 12% of 12-24s actively use MySpace, and 30% use the service at least occasionally. There is still an active community there for bands/musicians, for instance, which the News Corporation-owned social network is certainly aware of and actively trying to capitalize upon with their recent strategic shift. However, 35% of 12-24s have either stopped using the service or actively deleted their MySpace profiles, which is certainly one of the factors that prompted MySpace’s new direction. The deletion problem is an interesting one for MySpace, as the service cannot depend upon simply recontacting its email database to rebrand the service with past users – it may, in fact, have to advertise on Facebook to reach this demographic.

Perceived time spent using MySpace is also headed in the wrong direction. When we asked those 12-24s who had ever used MySpace if they were spending more, less or about the same amount of time using MySpace as they had one year ago, 10% reported “more,” 22% reported “the same” and 59% reported “less.” While this is self-reported data, it is a clear indicator that in the minds of nearly 60% of 12-24 year-old MySpace users, the service is simply less important to their lives than it once was.

Finally, as we reported earlier this year in Twitter Usage in America, Twitter continues to have a smaller footprint on the web, and in this particular study 12% of 12-24s use the micro-blogging service at least “occasionally.” 16% of 12-24s are unfamiliar with Twitter (which nicely reinforces our finding from earlier this year that 87% of Americans 12+ were familiar with Twitter), while 61% of 12-24s are familiar with Twitter, but have never used the service.

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Methodology: A total of 1,533 respondents were interviewed to investigate interest in, and consumption of, traditional and new media among American youth. From September 8 to September 13, 2010, interviews were conducted online with respondents age 12 to 34 chosen at random from a national sample of Knowledge Networks’ “KnowledgePanel,” an online panel that is representative of the entire U.S. population through its use of dual-frame sample recruitment and a known published sampling frame. Data from this year’s study is tracked with the 2000 Edison Research study, “Radio’s Future: Today’s 12 to 24 Year-Olds,” which was conducted via telephone.

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