The Washington D.C.-based Pew Research Center has published the results of their Internet Project online. Their research provides fascinating and informative insight to the use of social networking sites broken down by demographics.
Among online adults, Pew has determined that Facebook continues to dominate over other social media sites. Facebook did not witness a growth in number of users as other platforms did; however, they remained the overwhelming favorite. As of September 2014, use of Facebook and other social media platforms by online adults breaks down as follows:
- Facebook- 71%
- LinkedIn- 28%
- Pinterest- 28%
- Instagram- 26%
- Twitter- 23%
Although Facebook saw no increase in the overall number of users, for the first time in Pew research findings, over half (56%) of online adults ages 65 and older are now using Facebook.
In addition to increasing its user figure by nine percentage points, Instagram saw substantial growth in nearly every demographic group. Pinterest and Twitter witnessed member increases among a variety of demographic groups, while the popularity of LinkedIn strengthened among college graduates and professionals- groups with whom it was already prevalent.
The omnipresence of cell phones- smartphones in particular- has facilitated the use of social networking. The number of people using their phones to access social networking sites has risen to 40%, with 28% doing so on a daily basis. The groups most likely to use social networking sites on their phones include, blacks, Hispanics, young people, the very educated, and individuals with a higher annual household income.
Pew studied the impact that social networking sites have on individuals and how use of these technologies affects trust, acceptance, community, social support, and political engagement. They were interested to know if people who used technology to connect with others would build stronger bonds or be more isolated. They discovered the typical user of a social networking site is half as prone to being isolated as the average American and has more close ties.
In addition to having more close relationships, Facebook users are more trusting than others and are more politically engaged. Social networking sites have become an important resource for political news and identifying like-minded issue-oriented individuals.
Pew divided adult internet users into two main categories- creators and curators. Creators post original visual media they have created themselves. This group comprises 46% of adult internet users.
The other group, known as curators, repost photos and videos that others have created. This group comprises 41% of adult internet users.
It was determined that 56% of internet users are either creators or curators, and 32% of users fall into both categories.
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