Fully 65% of adult internet users now say they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61% one year ago. This marks the first time in Pew Internet surveys that 50% of all adults use social networking sites.
The frequency of social networking site usage among young adult internet users under age 30 was stable over the last year – 61% of online Americans in that age cohort now use social networking sites on a typical day, compared with 60% one year ago. However, among the Boomer-aged segment of internet users ages 50-64, social networking site usage on a typical day grew a significant 60% (from 20% to 32%).
First, I’ll admit it’s kinda funny that MySpace is listed here. Sure they have new ownership now but I don’t see them as a driving force. Nonetheless, they still have a few hundred million users, so it’s only fair to include MySpace in the mix.
Here are my thoughts on the numbers above:
- 65% is probably conservative. When I ask groups of people I often see numbers in the 75%-80% percent range. I think there’s a big population of people that don’t even realize their on a social media site when browsing the web. For example, it could be fairly simple to confuse a Ning niche site with a regular blog or standard forum for that matter … even if you’re visiting the site everyday.
- Stability of social media usage among the younger audience is expected. This demographic was the first to arrive on the scene, has kicked the tires and is now settled in on their 1-2 favorite social media sites for a while. They’ll shift to different platforms overtime, but I don’t see them abandoning social media anytime soon.
- 60% usage growth within the 50-64 age group makes sense for several reasons. One, this group was late to the party, so they’re just now getting up to speed. Two, they’ve been convinced by their children and other relatives that there is value in connecting with family members on social media platforms. And three, they’ve actually been on social media platforms all along and they’re just now ready to admit it.