MySpace's teenage audience - up or down?

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 6 October 2006

I sometimes wonder if bloggers and journalists should be sent on some kind of mathematics boot camp before they are allowed to write articles based on statistics.

Yesterday comScore put out a press release pointing out that there had been a demographic shift amongst MySpace users in the last year, with the percentage of users in the 12-17 age bracket dropping from 24.7% to 11.9%

Cue a slew of articles saying that MySpace was going out of fashion.

"Those teenagers are so out of there" wrote Erick Schonfeld on B2Day in a piece entitled 'MySpace is Over the Hill'. "Teenagers are turning away from MySpace.com" wrote Mark Sweney in a similarly themed piece on MediaGuardian under the headline 'Oldies push teens off MySpace'

All of which leaves me wondering if I am the only person left on the planet who understands that a smaller percentage of a lot more users can still end up being a bigger number?

comScore's figures in fact show that whilst they no longer dominated the demographics, the actual number of 12-17 year old's using MySpace in August 2006 was around 23% higher than it had been in August 2005 - 6.6million users this year as opposed to 5.4million the year before. That doesn't sound to me like teenagers "turning away"...

<added> It was crushingly inevitable, but in a case of "Pot to Kettle, requesting colour check, over" I got the figures wrong when I first posted this. I blame the fact that I am mostly working in the German language version of Microsoft's Windows and Office packages, and haven't quite got to grips with using ',' and '.' within numbers in Austria, Anyway, the figures should be 66 million and 54 million, which means MySpace's teenage universe increased by more than the population of Belgium during the last year, which I believe is the standard unit of measurement for this kind of statistic. </added>

1 Comment

There is a piece over here - http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2006/10/10/comscore_misint.html - also questioning the way these stats have been presented in the media, although Apophenia is more concerned with how the demographic data has been collated

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