The New Demographics of Social Media [Stats]

The New Demographics of Social Media [Stats]

By: Shelly Kramer
January 28, 2014

Social Media It’s No longer Child’s PlayNo longer shall our kids speak in a language that we don’t understand. With 71% of adults now embracing social media and 42% of us using multiple platforms, we’re giving our kids a run for their money on the social networking stakes. So what might our Pinterest accounts say about our social status? And how might our Twitter usage give an indication of our ethnicity? Well, all will be revealed as we dig deeper into a new survey published by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project.

Who out there finds themselves working up a Facebook frenzy on their lunch hour? Well that could be testament to Facebook still being top dog when it comes to social networking usage. Some 71% of online adults are now using the site, which is a 4% increase from those who used Facebook as of 2012. And what’s more, women are more likely to log on to the site than men as the graph below shows:

Twitter’s growth of adult users, however, paints a slightly more jaded picture; with a relatively similar usage to the year before. In 2013, 18% of online adults used the social networking site, which statistically, isn’t far off the 16% who used the site in 2012. So this prompts me to ask: has Twitter maxed out its audience? Perhaps 2014’s results will shed some more light on the situation. Interestingly though, Twitter has seen an increase in the number of younger adults and African Americans using the social media site as the following results show:

Home to the ever popular ‘selfie’, the photo-sharing website Instagram now accounts for 17% of online adults’ social media usage. With a 4% increase in usage from 2012, there are two particular groups that stand out as having notably increased their Instagram use since last year. Those in the 18-29 age bracket have amplified their usage from 28% in 2012 to 37% in 2013 and African Americans have upped their game too with an increase from 23% to 34% over the same period. Unsurprisingly, not ones to miss a trick, Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2013, which leaves us wondering how this might affect Instagram’s usage over the coming years. Will we all become as snap-happy as the celebrities we befriend online? The demographics of Instagram’s usage are shown in the table below:

When it comes to Pinterest, women are on top with 33% now using the social media site compared with 8% of men. All genders combined, 21% of online adults are now using Pinterest, which is a significant increase from the 15% who did so in late 2012. And if you’re one of those people contributing to Pinterest’s increased usage, then the chances are that you’re leaning towards affluence, as the report shows that those in the highest income bracket are more likely to be pinning than those in the lowest bracket. Similarly, people with a college degree or higher are more likely to use the site compared to those who haven’t attended college as the graph below shows:

For a social media site geared towards professional networking, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn has a unique demographic from the sites listed above. Some 22% of online adults now use LinkedIn and usage is particularly high among people with a college degree or higher. Similarly, LinkedIn users are more likely to have a household income of $75,000 or more. What also makes for interesting reading is that LinkedIn is the only social networking site where usage among 50-64 year olds is higher than usage among those aged 18-29, which just goes to show that our kids don’t always have us on the back foot when it comes to social media, as illustrated in this set of results:

If you’re as interested in these statistics as I am, you can read the full report on Pew Internet’s website. And once you’re done, head back over here because I’d love to know your thoughts on all of this. How do these results compare to your social media usage? Which sites have you adopted and which have you ditched over the last year? With the world of social media constantly evolving, how do you see these sites fitting in with your online networking in the future?


Pew Research Center: Social Media Update 2013  
Pew Internet : Demographics of key social networking platforms
V3 Blog: What Facebook Likes Say About You
V3 Blog: Instagram Photos No Longer Visible on Twitter 
V3 Blog: Nielsen Report Shows Explosive Pinterest Growth
V3 Blog: LinkedIn Launches University Page

photo credit: Cakehead Loves via photopin cc