Social Media Update: 73 Percent of Adults Access Social Networks

Some 73 percent of online adults now use a social networking site, while 42 percent now use multiple social networking sites, according to new figures released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In terms of number of users, Facebook remains the dominant platform, but an increasing number of consumers are diversifying onto other services such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. In addition, Instagram users are nearly as likely as Facebook users to check in daily.

“While Facebook is popular across a diverse mix of demographic groups, other sites have developed their own unique demographic user profiles,” finds the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project. “For example, Pinterest holds particular appeal to female users (women are four times as likely as men to be Pinterest users), and LinkedIn is especially popular among college graduates and Internet users in higher income households. Twitter and Instagram have particular appeal to younger adults, urban dwellers, and non-whites. And there is substantial overlap between Twitter and Instagram user bases.”

In terms of engagement, 63 percent of Facebook users visit at least once a day, while 40 percent return multiple times per day. And although Instagram and Twitter have a smaller number of users than Facebook, active engagement is often more frequent.

In a related study by the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the impact of social networking sites on news consumers was analyzed.

“News plays a varying role across the social networking sites,” explains the Pew Research Journalism Project. “Roughly half of both Facebook and Twitter users get news on those sites, earlier reports have shown. On YouTube, that is true of only one-fifth of its user base, and for LinkedIn, the number is even smaller.”

The report offers a ranking based on the percentage of each social network’s users who ever use the service to access news: Reddit (62 percent), Twitter (52 percent), Facebook (47 percent), Google+ (30 percent), Tumblr (29 percent), YouTube (20 percent), Myspace (14 percent), LinkedIn (13 percent), Instagram (13 percent), Vine (9 percent), Pinterest (3 percent).