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Pinterest’s creativity causes generation and gender gap

Courtesy of Creative Commons at flickr.com

Courtesy of Creative Commons at flickr.com

In March 2010, a new social media outlet was released. It’s intent was to allow its users to collect pins containing hobbies, interests and ideas while having the ability to organize them digitally.

It was called Pinterest.

Since its launch three years ago, Pinterest has worked its way up to a total of 70 million users, 80 percent of which are female, according to Digital Marketing Ramblings.

Eighty percent seems surprisingly high, but some believe it is accurate.

“This figure makes plenty sense,” said Faviola Berrun, a 19-year-old student at California State University, Chico. “Most things on Pinterest are ‘pinned’ by females about female things, such as baking, cooking, wedding ideas, style, jewelry, animals, beauty tips, and interior design.”

Pinterest’s official website says “no matter what you’re interested in, there’s a place for it here”, but perhaps that is not the case.

The same article by Digital Marketing Ramblings found that only 5 percent of internet-using men in the U.S. are on Pinterest.

“Not many topics would interest most men,” said Berrun.

While the gender gap is evident, the generation gap is somewhat surprising.

In America, more individuals aged 35-49 use the social network than anyone else, according to a graph on Readwrite.com. That demographic makes up 31 percent of users, though this number focuses solely on the website being logged into via computer.

When it comes to the mobile app, the 35-49 and 25-34 age groups are deadlocked, each making up 31 percent of mobile users. The younger generation — aged 18-24 — make up just 14 percent of computer users and 20 percent of mobile users.

A look at Pinterest’s website revealed why that gap may exist.

The “hottest trends” right now include Incredible Luxury Homes, Uniquely Themed Restaurants, Warped Furniture, Unique Home Decor Products, Creative Lighting Ideas and Seductive Halloween Attire.

“You can plan out your wedding, party room, future house, anything really,” Berrun said.

Perhaps this is the reason for the generation gap working contradictory to most other social networks.

LinkedIn’s professional environment causes large generation gap

Courtesy of Creative Commons at flickr.com

Courtesy of Creative Commons at flickr.com

Since its creation in 2003, LinkedIn has helped business personnel connect with over 230 million employers and employees around the world, according to Digital Marketing Ramblings.

One of the few social networks not dominated by teenagers, the average LinkedIn user is 41 years old, according to Linked Strategies.

Why is that?

“The way I like to describe it is Facebook with a suit on,” said Cindy Parnell, the director of Career Services at Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus. “It’s a professional site, not a ‘connect with friends’ site.”

Business Insider found that the largest demographic of LinkedIn users are those aged 35-54, who make up 39.8 percent of LinkedIn users in the Unites States. The 18-24 demographic makes up just 18.1 percent of the LinkedIn population.

That percentage suggests that about eight out of 10 individuals in the 18-24 age group do not have a LinkedIn — in fact, some have no idea what the website is.

Chris Lott is a 17-year-old from Riverside, Calif. When asked how he uses LinkedIn, he responded with a laugh:

“What if I don’t know what LinkedIn is?” he said. “I don’t know what LinkedIn is.”

Alec Cardenas is a 19-year-old student at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He does not have a LinkedIn either, but believes that teenagers should wait until they develop more professional experience before creating a LinkedIn account.

“I feel like teenagers don’t really have any business having a LinkedIn account at their age, given their schooling and lifestyle at the time,” said Cardenas.

“I think…generally 35 to 45 year olds have already participated in higher education institutions,” he continued. “[They have] had much more time to build up their resumes and work experience, which are all great criteria to include on your LinkedIn profile.”

Many professionals in various industries are using LinkedIn to connect with potential employees, especially those in a younger demographic, according to Parnell.

“Professionals use it as a recruiting tool,” she said. “They’ll source LinkedIn for people that have put resume details, work history, [and] their education on LinkedIn and if it’s a good match for their company, the company will reach out to people, based on their profile, to apply for positions within their organization.”

As a result, the older demographic will continue to create accounts while the younger demographic waits to put their foot in the game.

Should that be improved so that their are more young people on LinkedIn?

“I don’t know if I want it to be improved until students understand how to best utilize [the website],” said Parnell.

Parnell also said that she is actually more comfortable with students waiting until they are ready to make an account, rather than making one just to say they have one.

“The student philosophy we hear is ‘Facebook is my social outlet, I don’t want employers dabbling in that [and] LinkedIn is my professional image’, and that’s what I want to establish,” she said.

“If students can’t bridge that and understand that difference, I don’t want them attempting LinkedIn with all that their doing with Facebook because they’re completely separate.”

The generation gap is very apparent on LinkedIn, but experts, like Parnell, are saying that it is a good thing.

On next week’s edition of Generation Update, we will tackle Pinterest and focus on the generation gap of the popular website.

Facebook uses ability to connect to narrow generation gap

Courtesy of Creative Commons at flickr.com

Courtesy of Creative Commons at flickr.com

The social network Facebook is the most popular social network in the world. With over 1.15 billion users, Facebook has more users than the United States has citizens — more than three times over.

According to Digital Marketing Ramblings, about 699 million people log in to Facebook every day, where they spend an average of twenty minutes per visit on the website.

A study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that in February 2013, 86 percent of those aged 18-29 were on Facebook. A reasonably high number, but one that might have been expected. However, the same study found that 73 percent of the demographic aged 30-49 were on the social network and 35 percent of Americans aged over 65 years had a Facebook account.

Statistics and numbers are one thing, but many users on Facebook have various reasons for using the social network.

Karla Martinez is a 19-year-old student at Northern Arizona University. She didn’t create a Facebook account until the summer between her junior and senior year of high school. While she admits she succumbed to the peer pressure of being on Facebook, the more important reason she made an account was “because I knew I was going to be graduating soon [and] I wanted to keep in contact with my friends once we were in college.”

Facebook got its start with college students like Martinez. Originally intended to help students at Harvard University connect with each other, the website saw 1,200 Harvard students create a profile within the first 24 hours of Facebook’s existence. By February 2004, one month after its birth, half of the undergraduate population at Harvard had a Facebook, according to Social Media Today.

Six months later, the website had hit 30 campuses across the nation with 150,000 registered students. By December 2004, days before its first birthday, Facebook had reached one million users, according to Social Media Today.

In September 2005, high school student in the United States were allowed to join Facebook, which is where the website took off on a global scale. The next month, college students in the United Kingdom began creating accounts. Other nations and continents followed suit and in October 2012, less than a decade after it was created, Facebook reached a billion users, according to Social Media Today.

Users like Martinez enjoy connecting with current friends while others use the network to connect to friends from the past.

Brenda Avalos, a 39-year old from Phoenix, said that at first, the only reason she created a Facebook was to connect with a friend from Louisiana four years ago.

“I had never had anything like social media before Facebook,” Avalos said. “I think…it’s good that you can reconnect with people, people you normally would not be able to keep up with and talk to.”

Avalos said that she checks her Facebook about three times a day, but mostly only to update her status and upload pictures of her child as opposed to reading the statuses of other friends on her news feed.

Martinez also said that her Facebook is primarily used to put her own statuses up rather than see what everyone else has to say.

“It’s more so for pictures,” Martinez said. “Whenever…[I] hang out with friends, everyone always wants to be tagged in pictures, so it’s a place to keep my pictures.”

So do people in different age groups use Facebook differently than those in other generations?

“Definitely,” said Martinez. “I think people in their thirties and forties use it more so to keep in contact with their friends and family as opposed to our generation…they use it more for credibility…almost like an ego-boost.”

Avalos, for the most-part, agreed.

“I think that teenagers, for example, use it more to gossip than find information,” said Avalos. “As far as adults are concerned, it depends on the adult. Some adults are still like kids…they use it…to be immature, but the working adult uses it to be more professional.”

Avalos also offered some advice about some of the negatives of the social network.

“Anything you put on [Facebook] is out there,” said Avalos. “What’s out there is out there, no matter if you delete it…kids don’t know when they sign up that when they sign up it’s a contract stating that ‘your personal information is no longer personal and the pictures that you put up are no longer yours’, they are theirs too.”

Combined, Martinez and Avalos make up a very small part of the largest social network on the planet, but their insight revealed that a generation gap is not as evident in Facebook as with other social networks. Though two decades apart, Martinez and Avalos use Facebook for the same relative reasons.

An article on briansolis.com said that 70 percent of Facebook users use the website to connect with family and friends, just as Martinez and Avalos do. Digital Marketing Ramblings found that there have been a total of 150 billion total Facebook friend connections since the website started.

Twitter and its many tweets may prove to be a different story. Next week, Generation Update will check out the second-most popular social network on the web right now. Perhaps there, a generation gap will be more evident.