After chasing my daughter off Disney Channel she settles onto club Penguin for the afternoon…or so she thought. Michael Dwyer’s [Guardian] piece (thanks Ian), on pre-teen social networking, confirms all my notions about milking this lucrative market. While there’s lots written on social networking generally, we’re starting to see a segmentation of the market, possibly into sub-teen, Gen Y and X and the boomers. While the marketers will be leading the charge in carving up the networks, time for the educators to ride on the back of some of this work (always a lag between commercial exploitation and educational exploration). So what might we learn from such market analysis?
Firstly the segmentation itself might give us a clue as to how to segment learning communities, not necessarily along curriculum or stages of learning- but associations based on other factors such as group (tribal?) identification, media association, message and content orientation, technical savvy etc. Other indicators might also provide us with ideas in relation to motivation and engagement. Trends regarding these factors could be the basis for ongoing study. Lets not ignore what the ‘pony-tails’ in marketing are doing and instead engage in timely analysis for more worthwhile purposes.