Thursday, 24 June 2010

Teens turning away from blogs - what should a YA author do?

Read a recent study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which finds that teen blogging and tweeting are down. For starters, the researchers list teens as 12 – 17 years old and young adults as the 18 – 29 set which is interesting. The whole report is quite informative, but for those who don't want to read the whole thing, here are some key facts from the report:

•Blogging is less popular among teens and young adults now than it was 4 years ago. Think kids are still reading and commenting? Maybe, maybe not – teen blog commenting stats have also dropped.

•14% of online teens now say they blog, down from 28% in 2006.

•In December 2007, 24% of online 18-29 year olds reported blogging, compared with 7% of those thirty and older.

•By 2009, just 15% of internet users ages 18-29 maintain a blog–a nine percentage point drop in two years.

•73% of wired American teens now use social networking websites, a significant increase from previous surveys. Just over half of online teens (55%) used social networking sites in November 2006 and 65% did so in February 2008.

•72% of online 18-29 year olds use social networking websites, nearly identical to the rate among teens.

•The specific sites on which young adults maintain their profiles are different from those used by older adults: Young profile owners are much more likely to maintain a profile on MySpace (66% of young profile owners do so, compared with just 36% of those thirty and older) but less likely to have a profile on LinkedIn (7% vs. 19%).

•8% of internet users ages 12-17 use Twitter. far less common than sending or receiving text messages as 66% of teens do, or going online for news and political information, done by 62% of online teens.

•Older teens are more likely to use Twitter than their younger counterparts; 10% of online teens ages 14-17 do so, compared with 5% of those ages 12-13.

•High school age girls are particularly likely to use Twitter. Thirteen percent of online girls ages 14-17 use Twitter, compared with 7% of boys that age.

•Young adults lead the way when it comes to using Twitter or status updating. One-third of online 18-29 year olds post or read status updates.

What do you think? Does this worry the YA authors amongst us?


Francine Howarth said...


Can see your point!

Thing is, though, do teens/adolescents talk books with authors - unpublished authors? If J.K.Rowling set up a cyber teen cafe it would be overloaded within hours!

But here's the rub, how many unpublished authors want fame (recognition) and fortune, yet when they become published how many interact in cyber world with their fans?

Kiddo's are too wrapped up in Internet Cyber Teen Cafes to hunt out unpublished writers, and kids who wear designer labels are little "snobs" at heart and "labels" sell big time.

My grandson has all the Harry Potter books, skim read them to keep up with his peers, hasn't read one of them in its entirety (cheat), yet he's read all J.Wilson's books.

The reason he hasn't read J.K.'s simply because they were too big (volume) and he didn't have time what with football, school study work, X-Box, laptop, and his mobile phone.

Hell, kiddo's only cruise the Super Highway until likeminded people ask them to join specific cyber gangs = limit to how far teens (YAs)will go in letting newbies in to their precious inner world! So, even if you're a big time writer, teens are giving you a lot flannel on actually having read your work! But hey, they bought (or more likely parents did) and that's all that matters to most authors!

So what can one do to draw their attention? Go the free route to build a fan base: get a son, daughter, grandchild to post a free novel chapter by chapter once a week?

BTW: there's a romance writer award at my blog for all romance writers (YA/Adult romance). Only one question to answer, and pass it on to one other romance writer blog.


Denise Covey said...

Thank you for your great comment. Obviously well-thought out and very succinct. Heading your way now..:)

Lisa said...

They (at least the boys) are busy with their PS3s and XBoxes. But I guess they don't read anyway.

Aubrie said...

Wow, this is interesting information! I love Blogger, but I guess I'll have to seek out other social networking places.

Shawn said...

Hi - this was interesting, I saw you sent me an award - thanks thats very sweet. I don't know how to add it etc. Could you help? Can you email me?
thanks Mr Monkey

Culture Served Raw said...

That is true, blogging seemed to be a fad a few years back, and has become less popular with the rise of social networking. Hopefully it will not be detrimental to YA writers

Anonymous said...

Those are very interesting statistics. Thanks for sharing!

I don't think most authors blog for teen readers, even before now. Back when teens used to blog, I don't think the majority of them seek out authors and publishers. (I didn't.) I think Francine made some great points about this.

(Although this makes me want to seek out and use other social networking medias more. :))

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Those are interesting! (And I agree with their classification of YA.) The good news for published authors - many adults read YA, too.

Denise Covey said...

Ocean Girl: A lot of teen boys do read, but most of the ones I know are into Manga. And yes, most of them want more immediacy than a blog offers..:)

Aubrie: I think teens like to tweet more than blog and if you want to reach them I think links to your blog via Twitter is a good idea..:)

Mr Monkey: I'll get back to you..:)

Culture Served Raw: I believe in my reply to Aubrie. Lots of adults (incl. moi) like to read YA and certainly follow/comment on YA blogs..:)

Sandy Shin: Yep, I think we need to branch out. I know I have dusted off my Twitter account and am twittering away again. I find Twitter more interesting now I have it streaming through my blog, which I am on most of the time..:)

L.Diane Wolfe: Yes, thank goodness we adults love YA too. I've never written for this market but I think I've read enough to maybe try..:)

Everyone, thank you for your thoughtful replies from which I've learned a lot. Francine needs to do a post on this!! Cheers, Denise <3

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I had no idea the stats were down. Any idea what is replacing blogs, Twitter, and Facebook?

Anonymous said...

I wish I had started blogging when I was a teenager. Well, technically 18 makes me one, but I'm no kid anymore. :)

If I had, I may have avoided a lot of silly amateur mistakes in my writing.

Denise Covey said...

J. Kaye, I would say texting is the teen fave, but that's no replacement for blogging..:)

Amanda, yes, blogging can teach us so much about writing..:)