Pew's fact tank studies American social networking

February 16, 2013 by Nancy Owano report
Credit: Pew Research Center

(—The Pew Research Center, a "fact tank" on attitudes and trends that they identify, has issued a report from its Internet & American Life Project that slices and dices data on who uses social media. The portrait includes percentage shares according to ethnicity, age, and sex. "The Demographics of Social Media Users—2012" is a report that takes its data from a national survey conducted between November and December last year, in English and Spanish. Some of the findings are no surprise to those who generally follow social networking trends.

They reflect what has been observed outside Pew in ubiquitous everyday instances of Internet use. Young adults, for example, are more likely than older adults to use , said Pew, a statement that is unlikely to draw gasps from media analysts. Internet users under 50 are particularly likely to use a site of any kind, according to the report, and those ages 18 to 29 are the most likely of any demographic cohort to do so (83%).

Men are less likely than women to be on the sites, and users in rural settings are less likely than urban-based users to use social networking.

Another unastounding finding is that Facebook remains the most-used social networking platform. Two-thirds of online adults say they use Facebook—women more than men.

As for Twitter, the percentage of Internet users on Twitter doubled since November 2010, now at 16%.

The study does get interesting in looking at sites beyond Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest, described as an online pinboard, which launched as a closed beta in March 2010, attracted 15% of Internet users to its engaging virtual scrapbooking, in the survey. Pinterest is equally popular among users ages18 to 29 and 30 to 49. Women are about five times as likely to be on the site as men, the largest difference in gender of any site that was featured in this report.

Survey findings for Instagram, a site that also launched in 2010, indicated that African-Americans and Latinos find Instagram especially appealing.

Looking at Tumblr, the Pew survey found that it was significantly less popular among Internet users than the other social networking sites featured in the report. However, while just 6% of those online use the site, the Pew survey takers discovered that Tumblir is much more popular among the youngest cohort, with 13 percent of those ages 18 to 29 blogging on Tumblr.

The sites, in terms of percent of users online, are as follows, as of December 2012: 15% of online adults said they use Pinterest; 13% of online adults said they use Instagram; 6% of online adults say they use Tumblr; 67% of online adults said they use Facebook; and 16% of online adults said they use Twitter.

Explore further: Few Americans using location-based services: Pew study

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not rated yet Feb 16, 2013
Looks like FB-trend has seen it's peak and has now started to decline.
not rated yet Feb 16, 2013
Looks like FB-trend has seen it's peak and has now started to decline.

I thought so too but then it seems less than "human" for there to be a decline in most age groups for social interaction, given we are social creatures you would expect it not to go down at the same time.

You will notice the internet users total goes down as well so the same % with internet probably still use the social networks.

Logical guess is: the economy had part to play in less people being on the internet. That would be the only guess I could think for the decline.
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 17, 2013
That chart blows. I'd like to see what it looks like with even intervals along the X axis.
not rated yet Feb 17, 2013
What counts as "using a social network"? If I passively follow some celebrity, does that rate the same in this study as interacting with relatives and friends?
not rated yet Feb 17, 2013
You will notice the internet users total goes down as well so the same % with internet probably still use the social networks.

That line is the percentage of all Internet users that use social media, not the percentage of all people that use the internet.
not rated yet Feb 18, 2013
Misleading key legend then.

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