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Latest research provides profiles of SNS users

— Media & Technology —

Yesterday the Pew Internet & American Life Project published a new research on social networking sites (SNS) and our lives (link to PDF). There are some very interesting numbers and insights, but what I found very useful is all the data that allows us to profile the users of the major networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn  and MySpace (yes, apparently people still use it), and what makes them different from each other.

Facebook users

92% of all social networks users are on Facebook and more than half of them engage with the platform daily. Although the social media giant is becoming more and more popular among older generations, the young and women drive activity on the platform. Facebook users are more trusting than other people and, when controlled for demographic characteristics, they are more politically engaged. Facebook members have overall (not just online) networks smaller than the overall networks of LinkedIn and Twitter users, but they have a greater number of close relationships. Facebook users like to “like” each other’s content (liking is the most popular activity on the network, but note that this is liking pieces of content not liking branded pages) and they are more likely to comment on another user’s status than to update their own.

Twitter users

13% of all SNS users are on Twitter. 33% of them engage with the platform daily, but other 40% engage with the platform less than once per month. Twitterers are more racially diverse than the average social network’s users. Twitter is disproportionately popular among African Americans, according to previous research. Twitter users, together with LinkedIn users, tend to be more educated. They also have the largest networks (not just online networks, but overall networks) compared to the average American or to users of other SNS.

LinkedIn users

18% of social platforms users are on LinkedIn. 6% engage with the platform daily and 44% engage less than once per month. LinkedIn has nearly twice as many men (63%) as women (37%), while women dominate all other social networks. The average LinkedIn user is older than the average SNS user and has at least one university degree. These users have significantly larger overall networks compared to the average American or users of other social platforms. Their overall networks are not just larger, but also more diverse (this is a broad measure of diversity, not a measure of racial diversity).

MySpace users

29% of social networks users are on MySpace and 7% engage with the platform daily, while 62% engage less than once per month. MySpace users are younger than the average SNS user. They are also the most racially diverse SNS users. Even when controlled for demographic characteristics, they tend to have fewer years of formal education compared to users of other networks and are marginally less likely to belong to a voluntary group. MySpace members are more likely to be open to opposing points of view.

I wish Pew provided demographic and psychographic characteristics of Tumblr users, especially now when the platform has more users than WordPress.

 

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