Posted April 2, 2008 10:00 am by with 10 comments

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Image Credit: BBCPssst. Hey kid! Want to earn a quarter? Tell your friends about this cool new video game, and it’s yours.

Silly? Not really. Not when you consider a new survey out of the UK that suggests 49% of kids aged between 8 and 17 have a social media profile.

The Ofcom report looks into the impact of social networks on people’s lives in the UK as part of a wider media literacy campaign and surveyed 5,000 adults and more than 3,000 children.

“Social networks are clearly a very important part of people’s lives and are having an impact on how people live their lives,” said James Thickett, director of market research at Ofcom.

Why is this important to internet marketers? It should be obvious, but I’ll spell it out. Think of all the 20+ years olds that grew-up using search engines such as Google. What do we have now? Millions of young men and women entering the workplace, all acutely aware of just how beneficial search engines can be.

Fast forward 10 years or so and those 8 to 17-year olds, who admit to having a social network profile, will hit the workforce. When they do, they’ll have a new mindset: valuable information can be found, not in a search engine, but in a network of people with similar interests.

If you’re strictly a search engine marketer, make hay while the sun’s still shining. I predict you’ve got about 10 years left to make the good money. After that, you’d better have a few social media marketing tricks up your sleeve, otherwise you could find you’re obsolete and back in that corporate job you worked so hard to escape–probably working for a 21-year old that does “get” social media. 😉

(The report also looks at the real dangers kids face from revealing too much info on social networks. That doesn’t fit with our internet marketing focus, but go read it anyway!)

  • Prosperity Writer

    is this the beginning of the end for such giants as google and yahoo? if they do not adapt, maybe it is.

  • Steven Bradley

    “otherwise you could find you’re obsolete and back in that corporate job you worked so hard to escape–probably working for a 21-year old that does “get” social media.”

    Say it ain’t so.

  • Graham Jones – Internet Psychologist

    Good post making a very good point. I made a similar point on my blog today. Banks, for instance, have all sorts of enticements for getting junior accounts. The idea is that if they can attract children to bank with them, they keep them for life. The problem is that banks haven’t yet worked out that children as young as eight want to engage with them online – not in their branches. And guess what, banks do not allow online access to children. Dumb or what? Big business really hasn’t got to grips with the Internet yet. You are right that people will be looking beyond search in 10 years. But just as we reach that change in online behaviour, big companies like the banks will be thinking of how they can capitalise on search. Ho hum.

  • Futon-Matt

    This post has really made me think about what to do with my business in years to come.

  • Seomotion

    I am agree with this opinion.

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  • Utah SEO

    I can easily foresee it being common for social networking to be brought up in many technology classes in high school.

  • Wii Tips

    Yes I agree and the different social marketing networks will probably merge into eachother being one complete network place that combines the functions of facebook, twitter, youtube and search engines which will eventually make google and yahoo absolete.

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