Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Social Networking comes to Borders and Books

According to a new study from the nonprofit Pew Internet & American Life Project, more than half of American youths between the ages of 12 and 17 use online social networking sites.
These have become the ‘flavour of the month’ and the place to be seen and express yourself. In a weird way it reminds one of the early internet days when there was often more junk than substance but every now and again there was a gem. Then came the search engines and the needle became easier to find. Now we have blogs and self-expression but what is good and what is bad comes down to taste, age and interest.

According to the research older teens, girls in particular, are the most likely to have created online profiles at social networking sites such as and The study found that 58% of girls and 51% of boys in the 12 to 17 age group had created an online profile. Among those in the 15- to 17-year-old range, 70% of girls had online profiles compared with 57% of boys.

So what drives them to these sites? The study found 91% usage was to maintaining contact with good friends and 82% with rarely seen friends, 72% for social planning 49% making new friends and surprisingly only 17% say they use such sites to flirt. They are clearly becoming a modern communications medium and with the full integration of everything offer more than a phone will.

The phenomenal growth of social networking sites has caused parents and politicians to worry that posting personal information online exposes teens to online predators. However many of the young users of these sites appear not to currently make these visible online and of those with viewable online profiles, 59% say only their friends have access.

What this tells us is that the phenomena we see as MySpace. Bebo, YouTube, FaceBook etc is deeply routed in youth culture. They are clearly communicating laterally through this network.
Interestingly since MySpace came to the public’s attention last year the have seen a rise in their demographic age profile, which says that it isn’t just down to youth.

At last someone has got the message! Borders may be seen as being late to the Internet party in some respects, but they have learnt much in their journey and today Borders Group, Inc. has announced a joint project with and

What is important is that it enables there clients to ‘engage’ with the superstore and click onto the social network Web site and share their thoughts on books, music and other entertainment.
Everyone talks about books, music and films every day just about everywhere and providing a vehicle to do this that is aligned to a brand associated with selling all these media makes a great deal of common sense.

Under the new program, Borders customers who receive informational e-mails from the chain will be offered links to a chat room that will also feature author interviews and information on author readings. Users of the new site will be able to accumulate points redeemable for Borders gift cards and other products.