Link Locusts

I’m not sure I trust a reporter looking for a headline and surveying one classroom in one school, but this made me chuckle:

“The relatively short lifecycle of a popular site is a terrifying prospect for companies like Google Inc., which this month spent $1.65 billion in stock to acquire the Internet’s latest grass-roots favorite, year-old YouTube, whose popularity Google hopes to harness as a loyal video audience.

“To a youth market composed of teens like Kim and Birnbaum, MySpace is just the latest online fad. Before MySpace, the place to be was Xanga, and before that, Friendster, MiGente and Black Planet.

“They’re not loyal,” Ben Bajarin, a market analyst for Creative Strategies Inc., said of the youth demographic. Young audiences search for innovative and new features. They’re constantly looking for new ways to communicate and share content they find or create, and because of that group mentality, friends shift from service to service in blocs.

Consider the most popular teen sites tracked by Nielsen-NetRatings. Topping the list last month were,, — none of which appeared among the top 10 for April, or the list a year ago.

Madeline Dell’Aria, another high school junior, has fallen in and out of love with a number of sites. In middle school she started avidly blogging on Xanga. Last year, after most of her friends abandoned Xanga and migrated to MySpace, she followed. “No one was using Xanga anymore,” she said.

Initially, MySpace drew her in, and she spent lots of time looking at her friend’s photos or leaving comments on their pages, she said. Now, only a year or so later, ennui is setting in. She spends a lot less time on the site, instead listening to music or talking on the phone, she said.”

I like the idea that hordes of voracious kids with ADHD are moving like locusts from server-farm to server-farm, feasting on link-potential and feature-sets, then leaving them as quickly as they came – barren hosts to nothing but digital tumbleweed and middle-aged new media pundits.

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