Commentary

Half of U.S. Millionaires Are On Facebook

We all know that the great, unwashed masses love social media and Facebook in particular, as approximately half of Americans now have a Facebook profile. But what about rich folks? Well, it turns out they're not that different from the rest of us (except, you know, the being rich part): the percentage of U.S. millionaires who use Facebook almost doubled from 26% in 2010 to 46% in 2011, according to the latest study of "Social Media and Affluent Households" from Spectrem.

The Spectrem report, based on a survey of financial decision-makers from about 3,000 households with net worth ranging from $100,000 to $25 million (not including their primary residence), found a similar proportion among the very wealthy, with 47% of financial decision-makers from households with a net worth of $5 million-$25 million also on Facebook. The proportion is a little bit higher for the merely well-off or "mass affluent," as Spectrem calls the $100,000-$1 million set, with 55% on Facebook.

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LinkedIn was also popular with rich folks, according to Spectrem, which found that 19% of millionaires, 26% of the very rich, and 22% of the mass affluent said they are using the professional social network. By comparison Twitter lagged far behind, with just 3% of millionaires, 6% of the very rich, and 5% of the mass affluent using the microblogging service.

These figures jibe pretty well with some previous studies of social media usage by wealthy Americans. One study by Fidelity Investments found that 34% of wealthy individuals (with net worth over $1 million) use social media professionally, including 28% who say they use LinkedIn. In 2010 a survey from SEI Networks found that 70% of people with net worth of $5 million or more are on Facebook or a similar social media site. Among the 70% who used social networks, 50% (35% of the total) said they use Facebook, 37% (26% of the total) said they visit YouTube, and 35% (24.5% of the total) use LinkedIn -- just about the same proportion who said they use LinkedIn in the Fidelity and Spectrem surveys.

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