Delvinia releases new insights on social net behaviour

New research reveals that only 6% of NGeners who visit sites like YouTube post content, and that only 4% of Gen X visited Twitter last month.

A new report by Delvinia (based on 11,559 regionally and demographically representative AskingCanadians panelists), reveals how Canadians truly feel about social networks and digital info sharing.

On the social networking front, the report, dubbed ‘Online Communities and Information Sharing,’ found that only 6% of the Net Generation (NGen) and 4% of Gen X report visiting Twitter in the last month.

‘I believe this speaks to the fact that Twitter’s huge popularity is more a reflection of the media’s coverage of this particular online community, and is less about the actual volume of users,’ Julianne Smola, director of strategic development at Delvinia tells MiC. ‘Also, several celebrities and celebrity news outlets have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. The low numbers we uncovered are likely just a reflection of this moment in time – certainly Twitter’s membership base is expected to grow rapidly. But it’s important to keep Twitter in perspective, particularly when companies are considering where to invest their dwindling marketing dollars in the hopes of achieving a meaningful ROI.’

Other, less talked about social media and sharing sites showed very similar numbers to those associated with Twitter, adds Smola. ‘In the case of NGen for example, 7% visited Hi5, 6% visited DIGG, 5% visited Tagged, and 4% visited Stumbleupon – but you just don’t hear about these sites. So Twitter’s popularity is not about being ahead of the pack from a usage perspective. Not yet, anyway.’

The report also finds that there is a significant difference between how frequently Canadians visit social network sites and how frequently they post content, with YouTube showing the greatest difference between views and posts: while 83% of NGen visited YouTube only 6% posted content. Boomers visited the site 595 times, and only 4% posted content. Smola says the difference is ‘likely just a reflection of how often people feel they have something to share with their networks vs. how often they want to see what others are up to. For example, although you may not have new pictures to post on Flickr every day, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to check out what others have posted on a daily basis.’

The report found that 83% of female Canadians aged 18 to 30 feel digital technology allows for easier social connections, compared to their male counterparts at 76%.

When it comes to information sharing, the report found that NGen Canadians feel the safest about sharing any type of personal information online but are more comfortable sharing credit card details (79%) than addresses and phone numbers (50%). While the majority of NGen are comfortable sharing information like their age, gender and marital status (53%) – the majority of all other generations are neutral or not comfortable.

While the majority of NGen and Gen X feel safe about using credit cards online; boomers and 65+ are significantly less confident (only 46% of boomers, 39% of 65+ feel safe). Sharing addresses or phone numbers online was found as highly unpopular among most Canadians, with boomers least comfortable (only 22% feel safe). ‘Most likely, the difference in comfort level between generations is simply a reflection of the fact that while NGeners have never known a world without the internet and virtual information sharing, older generations have had to adjust to the idea. Anything new usually breeds suspicion, so older Canadians have approached the internet more cautiously.’

Delvinia Interactive’s complete Online Communities and Information Sharing insight summary can be viewed here .

Delvinia’s Insights reports come out six to eight times a year.