New Study Shows Us Who Used Social Media in 2012

Social media statsMany writers online make a lot of assumptions about the use of social media. Writers make predictions or guesses as to how many people use social media in their daily lives. You don’t often see these writers bring in statistics to back up their claim. Everyone seems to just agree with them based on our experiences with how people use social media. A new study has gone even farther than discovering how many people use social media, and their results are worth checking out.

Pew Provides Some Interesting Info, Especially About Facebook

According to Francis Bea at Digital Trends, “Pew Internet has released its latest findings on what social media users looked like in 2012.” Seeing this data is an important way to gauge where social media is in our society and how it could develop in the future, giving businesses and agencies an idea for how much time and resources to put into the platform. Let’s see what Pew discovered.

Pew’s own data shows that of users on the internet, 62% of the men and 71% of the women online are using social media. Five years ago that number was far lower. Not surprisingly, the largest share in terms of percentage is the 18-29 year old category, with 83% of those users using social media. They are followed closely by 30-49 year olds at 77%. These two age groups make up a large portion of the consumer population and it’s a good sign for businesses and agencies using social media to see a large majority of them are using it as well.

One interesting point about Facebook, according to Pew once again, is the fact that “two-thirds of online American adults are Facebook users.” Facebook is obviously the largest social media network. But more importantly, as Jennifer Van Grove reported yesterday, Facebook is where people spend the longest amount of time online. In fact, the social network accounts for “a 10.8 percent share of total time spent online during the month” for social media users. This is good news for Facebook, and if they continue to improve their advertising and marketing options to businesses and agencies, it will be good news for you too.

 Minority Use Stands Out

One interesting point of focus in the Pew results relates to minorities. Roger Yu has written a great report posted last night for USA Today on this issue. He notices that “among Black internet users, 26% use Twitter” which is well ahead of the 14% for Whites. 23% of Black users use Instagram, compared to only 18% for Hispanics and 11% for Whites.

As many people know, Pinterest is incredibly popular among women. Roger writes, “A quarter of female internet users are on Pinterest vs. 5% of men.” Lastly, when it comes to smartphone adoptions, 57.3% of Hispanic, 54.4% of Blacks, and only 44.7% of Whites own smartphones.

These Numbers Won’t Be Going Down

It will definitely be interesting to see how these numbers change by 2014. Of course, the Pew study isn’t definitive or 100% representative of online users, but it gives us a good idea of who is using social media. It’s important to keep an eye on studies like this not only for marketing purposes, but also as a way to see how much time and effort to devote to social media campaigns. Knowledge is power, after all.

What do you think about the results from Pew’s study? What stood out to you?


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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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