When I was writing Totally Wired, I remember interviewing a group of low-income African American teens in Philly and asking them about an article I read on teens using chat lines. For teens without computers at home, this was the alternative form of socializing and flirting. It makes sense that phones, especially cell phones would take the place of more expensive laptops or PCs for low income youth…and that mobile social networking would also appeal to this audience for the same reason. AdWeek ran a piece about Axe’s latest attempt to reach their target audience in this space. What I found interesting was the description of who is using mobile chatrooms:
AirG research shows that most of its members are between 18-30 years old and work in service industries, 60 percent did not go to college and more than half don’t own a PC. Almost all bought their phones for $100 or less…
Members use the network to locate friends, send instant messages or join interest-based “lounges” to chat with multiple users about various subjects. They share photos and videos and search for dates, just like on MySpace.
I would be curious to see a socio-economic portrait of the teen users on these services as well.