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College Students: The Digital Demographic

A recent study by eMarketer confirms that college students are the most electronically connected demographic group in the United States. “Not only is Internet access widely prevalent, but so is technology ownership in general,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “College Students: Connecting with the Connected Crowd.” “Since students own multiple devices, they want to use those devices to interact with friends and information in multiple ways. They care less about what method they use for their interactions and more about how easy and seamless those interactions are.”

eMarketer also reports that EDUCAUSE, which has tracked social network usage by college students for several years, found that the percentage of students visiting social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace on a daily basis has more than doubled in the past three years, from 32.9 percent in 2006 to 66.2 percent in 2009. In addition, despite some concerns that social networking site use may be declining, Youth Trends found that Facebook was the number-three source among college students for learning about new products and services, after word-of-mouth and television commercials (May 2009).

The full eMarketer report also addresses the way smartphones change the way college students interact and obtain information, as well as whether or not social networks are maintaining their popularity.

Despite the use of more and more wireless devices, this demographic is definitely “plugged in.”

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