It’s no secret Americans have taken to social networking in a big way, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults are even more avid users of social networking sites than the mainstream population, according to a new survey from Pew.
Pew found that 80% of LGBT survey respondents have used a social network site like Facebook or Twitter, compared with 58% of the general public and 68% of the U.S. Internet population. However, the difference may be due partly to age, as people who self-identify as LGBT tend to be younger, on average, and therefore more likely to use social media. In fact, the difference disappears among younger age groups, with 89% of LGBT adults aged 18-29 saying they use social networks, compared to 90% of all adults aged 18-29.
Although this is speculation on my part, it seems plausible that older adults who self-identify as LGBT might also be more likely to use social media than their heterosexual peers, for dating and other social activities. Indeed, in terms of their purpose in going online, 55% of LGBT adults said they have met new LGBT friends online or through social media, including 69% of gay men and 47% of lesbians. On the other hand, a mere 16% say they regularly discuss LGBT issues online, compared to 83% who say they do not do this.
As for the media in general, LGBT adults seem ambivalent about the news media, with 27% saying they think it is LGBT-friendly, while 16% say it is unfriendly, and 56% are neutral. The proportions are markedly different for the entertainment industry, with 70% of respondents saying it is LGBT-friendly, 23% neutral, and just 6% unfriendly. By contrast, professional sports and the Republican Party were both identified as unfriendly (59% and 76%, respectively).