The Pew Internet and American Life Project has released a study that looks at the usage of social networking by age group.
This isn’t the first time this kind of study has been done but this one has two things going for it. The first is that it is current. The second is that it comes from Pew, which we have found to be one of the truly unbiased research outfits in the market. Current and not being spun as some kind of PR is appealing to us.
First, a look at overall use of social networking by age.
With 72% of overall Internet users using social networking sites it appears as if social media has truly arrived. But to whom? As one might guess, the younger the age the greater the saturation of social media use. But the spike in use of older age groups is interesting for sure. As marketers it’s critical to not assume that social media is just for the youngsters. That’s a mistake that no marketer should make these days.
Now let’s take a look at Twitter.
Overall adoption seems low at 18% but considering the nature of Twitter, how it works and the ‘learning curve’ around it it may have a lower ceiling just by its very nature. Of course, with Twitter supposedly driving so much news these days that is a little scary since not everyone is using it to report and gather data so the potential for elitism is high. That gets compounded further with the bulk of Twitter users falling into the 18-29 age range.
Once again, is this data shocking? Not at all but it’s important to grasp who is using social networking so that it may be applied appropriately by marketers and others who are looking to reach specific groups with their message.
Were you surprised by these numbers? If so, what make you look twice? If not, what do you make of the findings?