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Girls are all a-Twitter

21 Jun 13

Teenage schoolgirls are flocking to the microblogging service Twitter, according to early results from the educational project CensusAtSchool.

One in three teenage schoolgirls (37%) has reported having a Twitter account, up from one in four (23%) in 2011.

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe says the findings mirror overseas trends around Twitter, which was launched in 2006 and allows its users to send and resend “tweets” of up to 140 characters.

“The Pew Internet and American Life Project in the US has also found a much higher use of Twitter by teen girls than teen boys,” she says.

“One explanation for this could be that teenage girls are generally more social and more communicative than teenage boys, and use Twitter to keep in touch with their friends.”

It seems their love affair with Facebook has peaked. Since the last CensusAt School, in 2011, there has been no real change in the number of teenage school students with Facebook accounts.

In 2009, just 33% of teens had a Facebook page, but by 2011, that figure had risen to 83%. This year 83% said they had a Facebook page.

But the future looks shakier for the once-popular social networks Bebo and MySpace, which appear to be slipping from New Zealand teen’s lives all together. In 2009 63% of teenage school students had a Bebo page, but this has fallen to just 11% this year.

The music-focused MySpace has had an even worse trajectory, slipping from 17% in 2009 to just 6% this year.

CensusAtSchool is a biennial online project that brings statistics to life in the classroom.

Supervised by teachers, students aged between 10 and 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) answer 32 questions about their lives, many of them involving practical activities such as weighing and measuring, then analyse the results in class.

This year, more than 1236 teachers from 565 schools all over New Zealand are running CAS in their classrooms, and the social media results are always of great interest to their students.

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