Demographics of social networks in the US

These findings from the Pew Internet Project are interesting. I had no idea how widely used Pinterest and Instagram were:

  • Facebook: 23% of adult internet users/19% of entire adult population
  • Twitter: 71% of adult internet users/58% of entire adult population
  • Instagram: 26% of adult internet users/21% of entire adult population
  • Pinterest: 28% of adult internet users/22% of entire adult population
  • LinkedIn: 28% of adult internet users/23% of entire adult population

LinkedIn has the lowest daily use(13%) and the highest percentage of users (61%) who use it less than once a week. It would be interesting to know how many of these 61% use the service at least monthly. My hunch is that LinkedIn has spread because of an effective automatic invitation system and a widespread sense that opportunities are available through the system (without anyone being particularly clear about what those opportunities actually are) – it’s technically very easy to get drawn into it and there’s a diffuse sense that allowing oneself to do so might be valuable at some unspecified point in the future. In essence, I’m suggesting that LinkedIn is a triumph of marketing over functionality.

Another interesting finding is that Instagram has the highest portion of daily users (49%) after Facebook and roughly half of internet using 18-29 year olds use the service. The recent $35 billion valuation it received seems (slightly) less absurd when you take these demographic factors into account and assume social media as a whole will grow in a sustained way over coming years.

Categories: Digital Sociology

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