Catching up with our kids in social sites: Study

By Anne Collier

The number of US adults using social network sites “has nearly doubled since 2008” to 59% of Net users (47% of US adults in general), and the population of social sites has gotten older, the Pew Internet Project found. “The average age of adult-SNS [social network site] users has shifted from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010. Over half of all adult SNS users are now over the age of 35.” As for which sites, 92% of online social networkers are on Facebook; 29% on MySpace, 18% LinkedIn, and 13% Twitter. MySpace users are more racially diverse, are “more likely to be open to opposing points of view,” and “tend to have fewer years of formal education” than those of other social sites. Not too surprisingly, “most LinkedIn users have at least one university degree,” and LinkedIn has “nearly twice as many men (63%) as women (37%),” but all the other social sites have “have significantly more female users than male users.”

Time spent social networking online has certainly grown: “By some accounts, Americans spend more time on SNS than doing any other single online activity,” Pew says. Some sites draw our attention more often than others. “Almost a third of Facebook users (31%) are on the site several times a day, and a fifth of Twitter users are (only 3% of MySpace and LinkedIn users are). As for our connecting there, “the average Facebook user has 229 friends,” Pew found. Who those Facebook friends are is interesting: 22% people from high school, 12% extended family, 10% coworkers, 9% college friends, 8% immediate family (who naturally make up a small proportion of almost anybody’s social circle), 7% people from voluntary groups, 2% neighbors. I think this is interesting too: “7% of Facebook friends are people users have never met in person, and only 3% are people who have met only one time.”

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