The Real Audience for Social Networking

Sid Yadav posted an interesting entry about the 33 Places to Hangout in the Social Networking Era. He categorizes each site by what type of person it is “best for”, and I was struck by how 14 of his general social networking sites were best for teens, young adults, or college / university students while only 2 were best for adults / middle-aged. My limited experience with MySpace is leading me to the same conclusion. I recently began actively playing with MySpace to better understand all of the buzz (feel free to add me as a friend if you happen to use it and want to help me learn more about using it!)

In one word, this experience is telling me that I am “old”. I typically do not think of 35 as over the hill; however, in MySpace terms, I am positively ancient. The power of MySpace (and I suspect this to be true for similar sites) is the ability to keep in constant touch with all of your friends, which are also all on MySpace. So far, I have managed to add as friends the only three people under 30 that I know along with two other people closer to my own age who also happen to be on MySpace. These three people in their mid-20s have between 54 and 76 friends each with lots of comments left by these friends talking about evenings out, parties, getting together, harassments about phone calls not returned, happy holiday wishes and pictures of nights on the town. I guess it is a little like a mini online party every day with all of your friends.

My fellow old folks, do not despair … according to Yadav, we shine in the niche social networking site category (with “old” being defined as over 30 in this case). The readers of this blog, mostly business types, are probably more familiar with LinkedIn than with MySpace, myself included. However, there are niche social networking sites for everything from dog / cat / fuzzy pet owners to car / film / book / music lovers to shoppers to mommies. We just have to find our niche.

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