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« TweetQuake | Main | A look inside brain tissue to see network connections »

30 August 2011

Half of the adults in the US use network platforms to interact with friends

Social networks have crossed another milestone.

In case you didn't see this news last week ...... this press release is from The New York Times......

For the first time, half of all adults in the United States said they used a social networking site, according to a survey released on Friday by the Pew Research Center.

That is 50 percent of all Americans, not just those who say they are online. Six years ago, when Pew first conducted a similar survey, only 5 percent of all adults said they used social sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace.

It is a sign of how deeply and widely social networking companies have penetrated the lives of ordinary people and, in turn, transformed the ways in which people communicate, authorities govern and companies sell things.

Parents use Facebook to vet nannies, carmakers to introduce new models, police to keep tabs on suspects. Federal government authorities are preparing this weekend to use social networking sites for hurricane preparation on the East Coast.

The Pew survey found that among adults who are online, the rates of participation were higher: 65 percent, according to the survey, up slightly from 61 percent last year.

Not surprising, the sites are more popular among younger people: 83 percent of people surveyed in the 18-29 age bracket said they used social networking sites, compared with 51 percent of those in the 50-64 bracket. The young are also twice as likely to use social sites every day.

The survey by the center's Internet and American Life Project described women ages 18 to 29 as "the power users," with 89 percent of them using social networking sites and 69 percent using them every day. Such a stark finding has obvious implications for advertising on sites like Facebook.

Neither income nor education seemed to have any statistically significant bearing on the use of the sites. A separate study published by the Pew Center in June found that black Americans continued to be more likely to be on Twitter than whites. One in four African-American users of the Internet said they used Twitter "occasionally," and 11 percent said they used it daily.

Twitter penetration still trails considerably. Thirteen percent of those online describe themselves as Twitter users and the bulk of them use it on their smartphones.

The Internet is still more commonly used everyday for e-mail and search, with 61 percent reporting that they went online every day to check e-mail, 59 percent for search and 43 percent for social networking.

There are some signs that social networking is reaching its limit. Asked for one word to describe their social networking experience, the most common was "good."

One in five respondents, however, sounded less upbeat. They used words including "boring," "time-consuming" and "overrated."

Posted by Stan Wasserman at August 30, 2011 12:24 PM