Insights into Online Behavior and Platform Preferences

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A screenshot of a chart from Pew showing the majority of teens visit TikTok daily

Pew Research Center's recent study on U.S. teens' digital habits offers critical insights for organizations, particularly those in STEM fields, looking to engage with this demographic through social media for outreach and recruiting. As teens continue to embrace online platforms, understanding their preferences and usage patterns becomes essential for effectively reaching and connecting with the next generation of STEM professionals.

Key Considerations for STEM Outreach and Recruiting:

1. Platform Preferences:

Recognizing the dominance of YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram among teens is crucial. Tailoring outreach strategies to align with content consumption on these platforms can enhance visibility and engagement.

2. Decline in Facebook and Twitter Usage:

The decline in Facebook and Twitter usage suggests that these platforms may be less effective for reaching younger audiences. STEM organizations should focus on platforms where teens are more active to maximize the impact of their outreach efforts, such as TikTok or YouTube. Creating short videos like ATE's Student Success Stories can grab attention more quickly than a static image. 

3. Frequency of Platform Usage:

Acknowledging that a significant portion of teens use platforms almost constantly underscores the need for dynamic and consistent content. STEM organizations can leverage this trend by delivering engaging and educational content regularly.

4. Demographic Differences:

Understanding demographic variations in social media usage allows for targeted outreach. Recognizing that certain platforms may be more popular among specific demographics enables organizations to tailor content to better resonate with diverse audiences.

5. Internet Usage Patterns:

Given that nearly half of teens report near-constant internet use, STEM organizations should consider online platforms as primary channels for outreach. Developing digital campaigns, webinars, and interactive content can effectively capture teens' attention and interest in STEM fields.

6. Device Ownership:

Recognizing the near-universal access to smartphones among teens underscores the importance of mobile-friendly content. STEM organizations should optimize their websites and outreach materials for mobile devices to ensure a seamless user experience.

Incorporating the insights from Pew Research Center's study into STEM outreach and recruiting strategies is vital for staying relevant and impactful. By aligning efforts with teens' preferred platforms, tailoring content to demographic preferences, and leveraging the constant connectivity of today's youth, STEM organizations can foster genuine connections, spark interest, and inspire the next generation of STEM enthusiasts and professionals.

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Last Edited: January 22nd at 12:37pm by Meredith Whye

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