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College Students Lead the Way Online

  • Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2008
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Miscellaneous

Today's college students are digital natives—they have grown up with technology and Internet access at their fingertips. But what does that mean for the future?

eMarketer estimates that this year 95.7% of college students—17.4 million strong—will go online at least once a month.

(eMarketer defines a college student as anyone ages 18 or older who attends college full-time or part-time, including undergraduate, graduate-school and professional-school students.)

"College students are the most digitally connected demographic group in the US," says Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst at eMarketer and author of the new report, College Students Online: Driving Change in Internet and Mobile Usage. "They have grown up with technology and it is a seamless part of their lives."

Marketers looking for the next big trend online can learn a lot from college students.

"Students have played a prominent role in some of the biggest developments in the Internet and technology in recent years," says Ms. Williamson, "from social networking to the iPod."

In fact, entering college freshmen have already lived through a series of Internet-era milestones—often themselves created by college students:

  • 1990: The World Wide Web was born.

  • 1994: Two Stanford University students launched a site called Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle. It later became known by its acronym, Yahoo!. In the same year, the Mosaic Internet browser—precursor to Netscape—was created.
  • 1996: Two other Stanford students began collaborating on BackRub, which eventually became Google.

  • 1999: Northeastern University student Shawn Fanning created music file-sharing service Napster.

  • 2001: The first entry was posted to Wikipedia.

  • 2004: Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg and a few classmates launched Facebook.

  • 2007: Apple introduced the iPhone.

"The college market is basically the testing ground for all technologies," Matt Britton, chief of brand development for youth marketing agency Mr. Youth tells eMarketer. "If it takes off there, it’s going to take off in the mass market."

Read more - eMarketer

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