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!)