There’s an interesting piece by Michael Connery at Kos about MySpace, social network sites and politics. There’s been a growing buzz about using these social networking sites for politics as campaigners and politicians have started to realise the ready-made communications tool that’s just sitting there waiting to be used.
Commentators have often assumed that this is just a tool to reach the places that other campaigns can’t reach – those hard to motivate late teens and early 20s. The study that Michael uses shows that actually there’s been a huge shift in visitors to myspace, and to other networking sites as well.
They found that:
as the [MySpace] has experienced dramatic visitor growth, it has become more popular among older Internet users. The most significant shift has occurred among teens 12-17, who accounted for 24.7 percent of the MySpace audience in August 2005, but today represent a much lower 11.9 percent of the site’s total audience. Conversely, Internet users between the ages of 35-54 now account for 40.6 percent of the MySpace visitor base, an 8.2 percentage point increase during the past year.
There were also less marked but still significant numbers of older users for other sites such as FaceBook.
This should change the way that campaigners think of using social networking sites. It’s not just an add on to reach the kids, micro-sites such as these should be considered as a serious part of a campaign’s communications strategy.