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50% of all American Adults now use Social Media

August 29, 2011

More than half of all adults in America now use Social Media.

That’s the finding of the latest survey on the subject by The Pew Research Centre. This is the first time a survey has indicated over 50% of all American adults – not just those that say they are online – use Social Media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace.

To understand how significant this is, it’s worth noting that just 6 years ago only 5% said they use social sites. That’s a ten fold increase in just 6 years.

Any suggestion that the Social Media bubble has started to lose it’s shine and is ready to burst has been dealt a blow by these findings however closer examination of the numbers point to some emerging dissatisfaction with these platforms.

Out of all the “daily” online activities that we ask about, only email (which 61% of internet users access on a typical day) and search engines (which 59% use on a typical day) are used more frequently than social networking tools.

Young adult women ages 18-29 are the power users of social networking; fully 89% of those who are online use the sites overall and 69% do so on an average day.

As of May 2011, nearly seven in ten online women are users of social networking sites (69%), compared with six in ten online men (60%). Women are also more active in their use of these sites, with almost half of female internet users using social networking sites on a typical day (48%), compared with 38% of male internet users.

The most significant growth sector comes from the over 50’s. In the past 2 years, 50-64 yr olds doubled from 25% to 51% and the over 65’s has grown 150%.

It’s also worth noting that, in another first, usage by 18-29 yr olds has dropped. Even thought they still lead the way with 83%, this is possibly just as significant as the overall increase, given this age group has always been the driver behind the popularity of social networking sites.

More than half of the respondents used positive terms to describe their experiences such as “good”, “fun” and “great” however roughly 20% used negative terms like “boring”, “confusing” and “frustrating”.

There’s no specific breakdown of the age groups when it comes to positive or negative comments.

So the question is; Is everything rosy in the social media garden or are the thorns starting to grow?

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