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Despite the fact that 99% of Generation Y consumers (ages 18-24) report having an active profile on at least one online social networking site, only 22% of this same age group say they currently use Twitter, according to a study from the Participatory Marketing Network (PMN).

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The results show that while both online and mobile social networking are extraordinarily popular, micro-blogging has yet to catch on in any big way with this generation. The study did not offer any reasons why Twitter holds less appeal for younger consumers, but PMN suggests that the void in use among this age group presents potential marketing opportunities.

“Twitter dominates the news, but clearly we’re only touching the surface of its potential as a marketing vehicle,” said Michael Della Penna, PMN’s co-founder and executive chairman. “This is a classic ‘glass half full’ scenario for Twitter because it’s clear that Gen Y has an appetite for social networking, but still hasn’t fully embraced micro-blogging. There is a tremendous opportunity now for marketers to develop strategies to get this important group active on Twitter too.”

This study’s results echo findings from separate data from comScore, which revealed that younger consumers are indeed less likely to tweet. Among those members of Generation Y that do use Twitter, the largest percentages of people say they are following their friends or celebrities, while family and company Tweets have less appeal:

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SocNet and Mobile Applications Popular

The report found that 89% of Gen Y consumers have downloaded an application for use on their social networking profile page. The most popular application is photos (89%). Other oft-downloaded applications include games (53%), news (32%), and weather (29%).

Mobile social networking also appears to be gaining steam with Generation Y. Some 38% of 18-to-24-year-olds have an iPhone or iPod Touch, which facilitates mobile social networking, PMN found.

Though more than one-fourth (26%) of Gen Y iPhone/iPod Touch users say they have not downloaded any applications from the iTunes store, the most popular apps among those who have downloaded them:

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About the study: The study was conducted by PMN in May 2009 with its research partner, the Lubin School of Business’ Interactive and Direct Marketing (IDM) Lab at Pace University. Some 200 PMN panel members and consumers between the ages of 18-24 were questioned during the research.

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