Young adults and women are the most active users of social media today. Women in their 30s make up more than 50pc of heavy contributors (engaging in six or more social media activities).
This information has been reported by Netpop Research, a San Francisco-based research firm studying Internet trends. The report, “Social Animals: Who’s Sharing What and Why Online?” is based on a survey last month of 1,253 American broadband users ages 13 and older.
The report found that 73pc of Internet users contribute to online content using a variety of social media, blogs, Twitter and Facebook being the most popular. “It’s becoming a form of seamless integration with users’ lives; it’s always with them,” says Cate Reigner, vice president of Brand Insights and co-founder of Netpop Research.
Social media has been described by many working from home and freelancers as their ‘virtual water cooler’. Giving them a way to stay in touch with the outside world, while working in what can be lonely professions.
Microblogging has grown 400pc since 2009. Sites such as Twitter and Tumblr allow users to upload small bits of content, such as short sentences, photos and video links, and post them on a personal page.
“It’s an incredible community organizing tool,” says Marcus Messner, a social media, multimedia journalism and global communications professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Many of these (Middle East) protests would have been much more difficult to organise without social media.”
Twitter also helps people “feel that what’s going on in their lives is of interest to other people; everyone can become a little celebrity,” says Richard Lachmann, a pop-culture expert and social psychology professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York.
The most active social media users are 18 to 34 year olds (82pc contributing) and women (78 pc), according to the survey. Women in their 30s are the heaviest contributors, while non-contributors tend to be older and male.
“We’re going to continue to see new innovations” such as location-based services, Reigner says. “The older generation will have to adapt or be caught off guard,” just as the Egyptian government was by its younger generations’ quick use of technology.
Netpop Research will release a series of reports throughout this spring about social media, followed by a “pocket” series on mobile devices.