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TECH ADVICE: Teens and Social Media Use

October 2009
By: Ken Freeman

According to the PBS article "Media Shift" there is a fundamental shift occurring that will influence who visits your center and how they find your center

History

Social networking online has been around since the late '90s and the rise of Friendster.com. Blogs have been around since the late '90s; and before that there were personal home pages, bulletin boards, usernets, and online diaries. Instant messaging has been around since the mid-'90s. Email and the Internet have roots in the ARPANET from the '60s and '70s. Of course, the rest is history.

None of this is really new!

Is your non-profit organization getting the exposure you really want? What if simple changes in your use of social media could result in more than 35,000 new exposures every month! Would you find that helpful to your center?

Online Exposure Grows

The best advertising medium today is not on radio or television, but rather on the Internet. Statistics show that online searches are surpassing newspaper readership, yellow page use, and more. Up to 75 percent of Americans use the Internet.

If you plan to reach the abortion minded, you must increase your Internet exposure significantly.

So, what's new and why is this a hot topic? There has been widespread adoption of broadband connections at home, school, and work. The technology is easier to use. Usage started with academics and business followed by hobbyists and the general public — including teens and college-age users.

Pew Internet Research finds: "Teens and Generation Y (age 18-28) are significantly more likely than older users to send and receive instant messages, play online games, create blogs, download music, and search for school and personal information. An always-on, high-speed connection at home enables some of these activities for young Internet users, but broadband access is not the whole story. Internet users in their 30s are about as likely as users in their 20s to have broadband at home and yet do not match the younger users in their enthusiasm for games and IM."

Pew Research on 'The Ties that Bind' explains the positive results of the Net: "The Internet's capacity to help maintain and cultivate social networks has real payoffs. Pew found that Internet use provides online Americans a path to resources such as access to people who may have the right information to help deal with a health or medical issue or to confront a financial issue. Sometimes this assistance comes from a close friend or family member. Sometimes this assistance comes from a person more socially distant but made close by email in a time of need. The result is that people not only socialize online, but they also incorporate the Internet into seeking information, exchanging advice, and making decisions."

Interesting Facts Important to Your Choice to Use Social Media to Reach Your Target Audience

"In September 2003, kids between the ages of 2 and 11 spent an average of six hours and 39 minute online. That increased three years later by 41 percent to nearly 9 hours and 24 minutes per month. Teens more than double that time. In 2003, teenagers spent over 21 hours online per month. In 2006, they spent 26 hours per month.

"The Internet is as much a part of children's lives as TV, school, and books. It provides entertainment, social interaction, and educational opportunities. We can expect the time kids spend online to increase along with expanded offerings on the Web and the growing network of their friends and family who use the Web frequently." — Ken Cassar of Nielsen

What Does All This Mean to Your Center?

It means you must find greater exposure on the Internet now more than ever. The Internet is today's marketplace of ideas. This is why your center should join the Someone Cares Network, a membership organization operated by Last Harvest Ministries, Inc. The membership consists of pregnancy resource centers. Members are provided a backend dashboard of controls for referrals, listing management, contributing articles and other tools. We provide instant referrals to local pregnancy resource centers. Our referral network distributes 60,000 to 80,000 requests from pregnant women a year. We have a database of over 2000 members. To learn more about this organization, go to http://findpregnancyhelp.com/join_network.php.

If you want to reach the abortion-minded woman, if you want to reach sexually active young women, you will find them online.

Ken Freeman is a professional web and social media consultant. He has served pregnancy resource centers with marketing, advertising, web design, hosting, social media orchestration, and optimization support. Contact Ken Freeman at askkenfreeman@gmail.com or by calling 214-703-0505.



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