A survey finds more people (47 percent of the entire adult population) are using social networking sites.
survey findings show that use of social networking sites is growing and that
those who use these sites, especially Facebook users, have higher measures of
a national phone survey of 2,255 American adults last fall, the Pew Research
Center's Internet & American Life Project found that controlling for other
factors, a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day is 43 percent
more likely than other Internet users and more than three times as likely as
non-Internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.
research found that someone who uses Facebook several times per day averages 9
percent more close, core ties in their overall social network compared with
other Internet users. Compared with other Internet users, and users of other
social networking platforms, a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times
per day was an additional two and half times more likely to attend a political
rally or meeting, 57 percent more likely to persuade someone on their vote, and
43 percent more likely to have said they would vote.
survey also explored how much total social support, emotional support,
companionship and instrumental aid (such as having someone help you when you
are sick in bed) adults receive. Controlling for other factors, a Facebook user
who uses the site multiple times per day receives more emotional support and
companionship. For Facebook users, the additional boost is equivalent to about
half the total support that the average American receives as a result of being
married or cohabitating with a partner.
has been a great deal of speculation about the impact of social networking site
use on people's social lives, and much of it has centered on the possibility
that these sites are hurting users' relationships and pushing them away from
participating in the world," said Keith Hampton, the lead author of the Pew
Internet report. "We've found the exact opposite-that people who use sites like
Facebook actually have more close relationships and are more likely to be
involved in civic and political activities."
survey also showed that more people are using social networking sites-the
figure is now 47 percent of the entire adult population, compared with 26
percent that was measured in the company's similar 2008 survey. Among other
things, this means the average age of adult social network site (SNS) 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.
has become the dominant social networking platform in terms of both number of
users and frequency of use, and it is striking to note that the makeup of the
population is changing," noted Lauren Sessions Goulet, co-author of the report.
"We also found interesting variation in the characteristics of users across
different social networking sites. People pick the platforms which best meet
their social and professional needs."
the survey, 2,255 American adults were questioned between Oct. 20 and Nov. 28,
2010, including 1,787 Internet users. There were 975 users of SNS such as
Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter. The margin of error on the entire
survey is ??3
percentage points, on the Internet users is ??3 percentage points, and for the SNS users is ??4
percentage points, according to the company.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.