Social Media Mavens

According to a new study by Netpop, social networkers, a giant swath of online users, represent the changing face of the Web and media at large. There are now 146 million “Social Networkers” in the U.S., adults age 18 and older, who have used a social networking site at least once in the last month.

How Social Networkers Divide Their Social Time (Base: Social networkers who spend time on social media)

Activity

% of Respondents

Staying in Touch

36%

Entertainment

25

Information

20

Self-Expression

15

Dating

4

Source: Netpop Research, Social Media in the U.S., April 2012

Social media is primarily used for “staying-in-touch”. But a quarter of social time has become a key form of entertainment, reading posts, looking at photos and watching videos. A fifth of social time is spent getting information, going beyond just staying-in-touch with friends and family.

By 2006, 70% of the U.S. adult population was online and growing at a much slower pace than seen at the end of the 20th century. What has changed is how people spend their time online. The major driver of that change, says the report, is social networking or, more generally, social media.

The vast majority of Internet users in the U.S. use social networking sites at least once a month or more frequently. Based on the number of U.S. Internet users who use social networking sites, social networking, has grown 356% since 2006.

Internet Users Using Social Networking Sites

Year

% Social Networkers

Social Networkers

2006

20%

32.1 Million

2008

38%

66.7 MM

2010

53%

93.3 MM

2012

79%

146.5 Million

Source: Netpop Research, Social Media in the U.S., April 2012

Social Networkers mirror the demographic profile of Internet users in the U.S. Social media is not only for the “tech-savvy,” says the report, It is used by all demographic groups. Though slightly younger and more female, social networkers generally mirror the demographic profile of the overall U.S. online population.

Demographic Profile of Social Networkers

 

Social Networkers

U.S. Internet Users Surveyed

College or higher (25+)

50%

49%

Mean Age

41.0 years

42.7 years

Male

46%

49%

Mean Income (25+)

$62.1K

$63.0K

Source: Netpop Research, Social Media in the U.S., April 2012

Of all the time social networkers currently spend online, 18% is spent on social media activities. Interestingly, more time is still spent on email, suggesting email is still a more important way to communicate. 22% of online time is spent accessing entertainment content like games, videos and music. The remaining 33% of time is spent on task-oriented endeavors – looking up information, doing online banking and shopping:

  • Email   27%
  • Entertainment   22%
  • Social Media   18%
  • Productivity   12%
  • Information   11%
  • Shopping   10%

Social networking consumes a substantive portion of users’ average time online per weekday. Social networkers still spend more time on email and entertainment (compared to social), but less time compared to task-oriented activities such as shopping, reference, and banking

Allocation of Online Time by Age

Age

Social

Email

Entertainment

Information

Productivity

Shopping

Time/Weekday

18-24

25%

17%

27%

11%

10%

9%

1 hr 50 min

25-34

19

22

22

13

13

11

1 hr 9 min

35-44

17

26

21

12

11

11

54 min

45-54

16

29

21

13

11

10

51 min

55+

11

38

19

11

11

10

31 min

Source: Netpop Research, Social Media in the U.S., April 2012

College-aged users show a stronger preference for social networking than email, reflecting the popularity of social networking among students. Once students graduate from school and enter the workforce, however, email usage is likely to increase. So while social networking may potentially surpass email as the online population grows-up, that trend is likely to be tempered by the importance of email in the workplace.

Comparing younger and older users by gender, younger women are the social media “mavens”. Women age 18 to 24 spend 25% of their online time on social media, and another 22% on email. Older women, by contrast, allocate much more time to email. Among men, the story is different. Men age 18 to 24 are spending most of their online time on entertainment (28%), while older men are primarily on email.

Allocation of Online Time by Age/Gender

Group

Social

Email

Entertainment

Productivity

Information

Shopping

Women, 18-34

25%

22%

21%

12%

11%

10%

Women, 35+

15

32

21

11

11

10

Men, 18-34

19

18

28

13

12

10

Men, 35+

14

31

20

13

12

 

Source: Netpop Research, Social Media in the U.S., April 2012

Social networking has broad appeal, but younger women are doing it the most, followed by younger men. The graph is also showing that the online experience, as a whole, is much more about communication and entertainment than information and productivity. Across all age groups, approximately two-thirds of all online time is spent on social, email and entertainment activities.

Average Time Per Weekday Spent on Social Media

Group

Time Spent

Women, 18-34

1 hr 25 min

Women, 35+

47 min

Men, 18-34

1 hr 12 min

Men, 35+

41 min

Source: Netpop Research, Social Media in the U.S., April 2012

Findings from Netpop/Connect 2012 are based on an online survey of 2365 social networkers, age 18 and older, in the United States conducted in January 2012. There is 95% confidence that the results are statistically accurate to within approximately 2.77% of the entire U.S. broadband population if the entire population had been polled.

To read more about the Netpop study, including slides, charts and graphs, please go here.

 

 

 

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