UoL Library Blog

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Report: The demographics of social networkers

Posted by gazjjohnson on 16 January, 2009

This morning I’ve been reading a couple of reports.  The first is by Amanda Lenhart on the PEW Internet & American Life Project entitled Adults and Social Network Sites.  According to their data:

  • Adults with online social networking profiles has gone up from 8% (2005) to 35% (Dec 2008 )
  • 30% of adults 35-44 have a profile (the report covers other age ranges, but since this is my peer group…)

Of these adults who do use them

I wonder how those numbers would look from a UK audience?  I’d suspect MySpace wouldn’t be anything like as popular, at least that’s my perception of their market penetration over here – what do you think?

Personally I’ve profiles on all three, but really only use FB for my professional and personal networking.  LinkedIn just leaves me cold.  Then again the median age of the LinkedIn user in this report is 40; so I’m a fair bit below that demographic point.  Shockingly the report concludes that on the whole adults are less likely to have online social networking profiles (65% vs 35%); something I’m sure is replicated in order of magnitude over here if not the exact numbers.

One paragraph later on was quite interesting, following on from things Alan and others have talked about in SmallWorldz and elsewhere – that of maintaining multiple online identities

  • A user generall wants to be finable by the people they wish to add to their online network…but may not wish to be so visable as to be harassed or observed by people totally unknown to them.

Or I’m sure in some cases people who are known to them, not quite sure I want everyone I’ve ever studied or worked with in my professional networks; and social networking security settings aren’t that customisable in many instances.  Interestingly 29% of users discovered their friends political interests/affiliations through networking sites.  Then again how many people list their real leanings on these sites? 

The report concludes with the data and methodology of the work.  So well worth a read, the main text is only 10 pages long.

One Response to “Report: The demographics of social networkers”

  1. sarahw9 said

    I’m not aware the professional networking sites have yet taken off in the UK – or not of quite th same type, although some have tried to put some together. There are existing groups like http://www.doctors.net.uk/ – but you need GMC registration details we can’t join and listen in.

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