Managing the Evolution of a Revolution: Marketing Implications of Internet Media Usage Among College Students

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College Teaching Methods & Styles Journal – Third Quarter 2007

Volume 3, Number 3

Managing The Evolution Of A Revolution: Marketing Implications Of Internet Media Usage Among College Students Connie Browning Budden, Southeastern Louisiana University Janet Foster Anthony, Southeastern Louisiana University Michael C. Budden, (E-mail: mbudden@selu.edu), Southeastern Louisiana University Michael A. Jones, (E-mail: mijones@selu.edu), Southeastern Louisiana University

ABSTRACT It is no surprise that internet usage among college students has seen a marked increase in recent years. The increasing usage of this medium portends direct, negative impacts relative to the use of other media by this important market segment. Marketers are interested in internet usage information in order to determine the best methods for tapping into this potential market. Research focused on internet usage patterns of college students was conducted. Usage patterns by student classification and gender were studied. Specific use of the Facebook, MySpace and YouTube websites were investigated.

INTRODUCTION he internet was initially developed and its use restricted to scientific research by the US Department of Defense (Cheung & Huang, 2005). Since its widespread adoption, the internet has impacted the lives of people from all walks of life, including impacts on business, shopping and social activities (Cheung & Huang, 2005). Internet social activities have presented marketers with challenges as well as opportunities to reach specific target markets. Facebook, introduced two years ago was originally a networking site limited to college students. The site was opened to high school students last September and will soon be available to anyone with a valid e-mail address (Kornblum, 2006). Facebook currently serves over 7.5 million registered users and is seventh among the more accessed sites in the U.S. (Cuesta, 2006). Facebook and the other major social site, MySpace, are two of the most popular social sites for today’s college students (Cuesta, 2006). MySpace’s membership has more than 40 million members as of the end of 2005 (Hempel & Lehman, 2005). YouTube is the newcomer to the college social scene created in 2004 (Keen, 2006). It allows the posting and viewing of videos by individuals, organizations and businesses. While new and small compared to MySpace and Facebook, its two creators recently sold it for $1.6 billion to Google. It is reported that YouTube viewers watch more than 100 million videos each day(Gill, 2006). Internet usage is increasing rapidly among the general population but even greater among college students. Internet usage among U.S. adults has risen and is reportedly at 56% for predominantly white, well-educated and affluent individuals (Odell, Korgen, Schumacher & Delucchi, 2000). Odell et al (2000) found no significant difference in internet usage between men and women. Among college students, 79% indicated that the internet has had a positive impact on their college careers (Halligran, 2005). Further, 86% of college students indicated they have gone online as compared to 50% of the general population. Research indicates some differences in the purposes of internet usage between the genders. Females tended to use the internet for E-mail and school research while males had higher usage of sex sites, research, purchases, news, games and music (Odell, Korgen, Schumacher & Delucchi, 2000). 5

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College Teaching Methods & Styles Journal – Third Quarter 2007

Volume 3, Number 3

A study conducted by the Harris Poll for Northwestern Mutual indicates that the college class of 2001 has a 100% usage of the internet (Futurist, 2001). Usage among this group has nearly doubled from 6 hours a week on first entering college to 11 hours a week currently (Futurist, 2001). In the current study, students were found to spend 9.6 hours per week on the internet which is not too different from the Northwestern Mutual findings....
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