Part of the reason is the kids who powered the growth of the Internet in general, along with Facebook and MySpace, are growing into adults themselves.
Further, Twitter is much more about a curated image as opposed to spontaneous ‘OMG, LOL, ROFL’ style text messaging.
Think about your favorite tweeters and how they incorporate intelligent writing, useful link resources, and distribute an interesting brand all their own. The payoff may be business opportunities and brand building instead of instant rewards or gossip. This is how Andrea Forte, an assistant professor at Drexel University, describes the disconnect in a NY Times article about Teens and Twitter Use:
“Your identity on Twitter is more your ability to take an interesting conversational turn, throw an interesting bit of conversation out there. Your identity isn’t so much identified by the music you listen to and the quizzes you take,” as it is on Facebook, she said. She called Twitter “a comparatively adult kind of interaction.”
Twitter is a Teen Branding Tool
What’s wrong with teens not using Twitter, anyways? Well, nothing. In fact it’s preferable to avoid the social media tool if you’re going to distribute shamelessly self-promotional messages or just gab with friends.
However, in the increasingly competitive global environment, you can never start early enough building a personal brand, and Twitter is a marvelous utility for that purpose. Imagine establishing a presence in your field of interest as a teenager, growing a huge community of followers, and having this resource available as you search for a job in college (or when you start a business).
The not-so-hidden benefit of using Twitter as a teen, a twenty-something, and beyond is building relationships. Once you start meeting new people on Twitter, it makes you more comfortable speaking with them face to face (Advertising Age has a concise description of these benefits).
In other words, you’re learning how to meet the people who will help you create a successful career and life’s plan, and who you will help in return. I’m less than 10 years removed from being a teenager, and I still recall my father encouraging me to speak up, meet new people, and get outside my comfort zone. It’s a lesson that serves me well to this day.
Life isn’t a John Wayne movie, partner. So how are you using Twitter to start new relationships? Maybe even more important, how are you teaching the teens in your life to use microblogging safely, responsibly, and effectively to build their own brand?