Social media usage may have reached a tipping point, according to a new report from one of my favorite sources, The Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Fully 65% of adult internet users now say they use a social networking site like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61% one year ago. This marks the first time in Pew Internet surveys that 50% of all adults use social networking sites.
The frequency of social networking site usage among young adult internet users under age 30 was stable over the last year – 61% of online Americans in that age cohort now use social networking sites on a typical day, compared with 60% one year ago. However, among the Boomer-aged segment of internet users ages 50-64, social networking site usage on a typical day grew a significant 60% (from 20% to 32%).
“The graying of social networking sites continues, but the oldest users are still far less likely to be making regular use of these tools,” said Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist and co-author of the report. “While seniors are testing the waters, many Baby Boomers are beginning to make a trip to the social media pool part of their daily routine.”
In a separate question, when social networking users were asked for one word to describe their experiences using social networking sites, “good” was the most common response (above). Overall, positive responses far outweighed the negative and neutral words that were associated with social networking sites (more than half of the respondents used positive terms). Users repeatedly described their experiences as “fun,” “great,” “interesting” and “convenient.” Less common were superlatives such as “astounding,” “necessity,” and “empowering.”
“Social networking sites continue to cement their place as a significant part of mainstream online life,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, a Research Specialist and co-author of the report. “Even as some users find their experiences with social networking sites frustrating or overwhelming, most seem to view the services positively on the whole.”
Read or download the full report: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Social-Networking-Sites.aspx