Here is an interesting research paper on social media and young people by Liz Dean. Liz has provided a comprehensive analysis of the findings.
She concludes that “young adult primary motivation for using social media is communication, business and information. This data is valuable to plan for the future use of social media, especially the education of those still learning to use social media.”
The sample size might be too small, with 20 people studied in this project. However, her project reveals some of the primary motivation for using social media and how they are used by young people.
It could be interesting to see how people of different ages (young people, adults and old aged people) are using social media in their formal and informal learning, with large sample size of different populations, and those from different cultures. This could provide a deeper insight into how social media could be used for education and learning.
I would suggest my students to explore how they could make better use of social media and Web 2.0 tools in their formal studies and informal learning.
See also my blog post on Is blogging on the decline in 2013?