US phone-based social media use growing fast

By Anne Collier

Social networking is rapidly getting more mobile in the US too. I say “too,” because one of my biggest takeaways from attending an international conference in Kenya this fall was that 3G cellphones (what we call “feature phones”) are and will increasingly be the typical way most East Africans access Facebook, Skype, Twitter, etc. But even here with our ubiquitous computer use, mobile social media use is catching up fast, though more with “smartphones” (4G rather than 3G feature phones). According to the latest figures from comScore, 72.2 million Americans aged 13+ accessed social media via their cellphones this past August, “an increase of 37% in the past year.” Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn respectively experienced 50%, 75%, and 69% increases in mobile use over the past year (Facebook had more than 57 million mobile users in August), comScore reports. “More than half read a post from an organization, brand or event” and “70% posted a status update while on their mobile device.” More users accessed social sites with their phone Web browser rather than with, for example, a Facebook or Twitter app, but that’s changing too. App-based use of social media “grew five times faster in the past year” – app access grew 126% while browser access grew only 24%, comScore says.

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