Study: Google+ more popular with parents than students; Surprised?

Summary:Google+ is more popular amongst parents than college students. Should we be surprised; after all, this is the 'Facebook generation'.

According to research undertaken by Hitwise, some of the more prominent early adopters to Google+ -- the new social network aimed at rivalling Facebook's dominance -- may not be what one might expect.

The study analysed the early adopters of Google+ in the first six weeks of it being publicly available. Taking into account the limited invitation-only restrictions, it shows that middle-aged, suburban parents are more prolific and stable long-term users of Google+ than their college student kids.

Looking closer at the figures, the classification group representing the suburban parent types make up 2.9 per cent of visits to Google+. The college student group only makes up 0.7 per cent.

Are you surprised? Frankly, I wasn't.

(Image via Flickr)

Google+ is, even in its infancy, is a highly popular service. It has had the highest growth of any social network, with over 10 million users accepting invitations to the site in the first three weeks of its virtual doors opening.

Demographic data released earlier this month show that the dominant age bracket falls within Generation Y terms, with 35% of users aged 25-34. But Google+ falls down with a strong gender divide, with over 71% of all users being male.

But this ongoing stereotype that the Generation Y automatically jump on the new product bandwagon is a fallacy. We're not divinators; and we cannot predict what will and won't be the next big thing.

The Generation Y, particularly college students who live in an insular campus life, does not like change. Inherently an issue with younger people, we stick to our guns and do not like deviating from areas we are comfortable in -- particularly when our social lives are involved.

Why would a college student cheat on their already established online social network with another, which has yet to be populated by the friends they already have elsewhere?

Besides this, the Generation Y today have been 'blinded' by Facebook. We log onto the site every day and know how it works. We understand the 'like' feature, the psychology of acting and enacting our views, thoughts and statuses. Simply put: we know how it works and feel comfortable with it.

Time for a daft analogy.

"A house is a house, but a home is a home."

We feel at home with Facebook, and Twitter is a great holiday home. But Google+, for now, is like settling down in a stranger's house after you kicked the door down.

Google+ is still only for a niche market. As I've said before -- Google+ may one day 'be a Facebook', but not while Facebook is still around.

The Generation Y does not automatically spring onto a new technological marvel and stick with it. It took a long time for Twitter to become a mainstream micro-blogging service for today's young'uns, but it got there in the end.

Having said that, we are a curious bunch. Back to the house, we peek our heads around the corner to see if anyone else is there. If we think we can get away with it for a short while, we will.

But if a house isn't a home, then we won't stick around until it feels like one.

Related content:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Apps, Google

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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