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Facebook Adoption Leveling Off

While it still remains far and away the most popular social network in the U.S. and the world, Facebook’s rate of growth is definitely leveling off at home, according to the latest survey of social media use by the Pew Research Center, based on a poll of 2,003 U.S. adults conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International in September 2014.

The Pew survey found that 71% of U.S. online adults reported using Facebook in September 2014, unchanged from the same proportion in August 2013. However, it may be worth noting that the total U.S. Internet population actually increased 10.6% from 225.3 million to 249.4 million over this period, suggesting the total number of Facebook users may still have increased, from around 160 million to 177 million.

Obviously, combining these figures isn’t exactly scientific, so take this all with a grain of salt. For comparison’s sake, separate figures from comScore show the number of Facebook's monthly users in the U.S. and Canada edged up from 199 million in the third quarter of 2013 to 206 million in the third quarter of 2014.

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Returning to the Pew data, Pew did find strong continued growth in Facebook usage among older Americans, with 56% of Internet users ages 65 and older logging on, up from 45% in 2013 and 35% in 2012. However, the proportion of Facebook users among online adults ages 30-49 actually decreased from 79% to 73%. In terms of frequency of usage, 70% of Facebook members engage with the site on a daily basis -- up from 63% last year -- and 45% engage several times a day.

Meanwhile, 52% of online adults reported using two or more social media sites, up from 42%. Here, Twitter has seen its user base increase from 18% of all online adults in 2013 to 23% in 2014, but apparently at the cost of less engagement by the average user, as the proportion who visit the site on a daily basis decreased from 46% to 36% over the same period.

The proportion of online adults using Instagram increased from 17% in 2013 to 26% in 2014. Within that figure, the percentage of online adults ages 18-29 using Instagram soared from 37% to 53%. Forty-nine percent of Instagram users are on the site daily.

Pew found that the proportion of online adult women using Pinterest increased from 33% in 2013 to 42% in 2014, while the proportion of online men increased from 8% to 13%; putting those figures together, the total proportion of online adults on Pinterest grew from 21% to 28%. 17% of Pinterest members use the site daily.

Finally, the percentage of online adults using LinkedIn edged up from 22% to 28% -- with the latter figure including half of college-educated online adults, up from 38% in 2013 -- and 13% of LinkedIn users visit on a daily basis.

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