New Research on Social Networking—What It’s Doing to Us (Part 2)

Last week, the findings Pew Research Center made on SNS (Social Networking Sites) was released. They are a mixed bag, but there is some good news about these sites. The findings on Facebook alone are interesting and I thought you’d enjoy them:

1. The number of people using social networking sites has nearly doubled since 2008 and the population of SNS users has gotten older.

In this Pew Internet Project sample, 79% of American adults said they used the internet and 59% of internet users, say they use at least one of the SNS. This is more than double the 26% of adults (34% of internet users) who used a SNS in 2008. Among other things, this means the average age of adult-SNS users has shifted from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010. Over half of all adult SNS users are now over the age of 35. Some 56% of SNS users now are female.

2. Surprise, surprise!  Facebook domintes the Social Networking scene.

Facebook dominates the SNS space in the Pew survey: 92% of SNS users are on Facebook; 29% use MySpace, 18% used LinkedIn and 13% use Twitter.

There is considerable variance in the way people use various social networking sites: 52% of Facebook users and 33% of Twitter users engage with the platform daily, while only 7% of MySpace and 6% of LinkedIn users do the same. On Facebook on an average day:

▪                15% of Facebook users update their status.

▪                22% comment on another’s post or status.

▪                20% comment on another user’s photos.

▪                26% “Like” another user’s content.

▪                10% send another user a private message.

3. Facebook users are more trusting than others.

Pew Research asked people if they felt “that most people can be trusted.” When Pew used regression analysis to control four demographic factors, they found the typical internet user is more than twice as likely as others to feel that people can be trusted. Further, they found Facebook users are even more likely to be trusting. Pew used regression analysis to control four other factors and found that a Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day is 43% more likely than other internet users and more than three times as likely as non-internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.

4. Facebook users have more close relationships.

The average American has just over two discussion confidants (2.16 on average) — that is, people with whom they discuss important matters. This is a modest, but significantly larger number than the average of 1.93 core ties reported when we asked this same question in 2008. Controlling for other factors we found that someone who uses Facebook several times per day averages 9% more close, core ties in their overall social network compared with other internet users.

This Thursday and Friday, our organization, Growing Leaders will host a National Leadership Forum called, “Develop: Cultivating Growth, Engagement and Success in Students.” One of the issues we’ll discuss is now to harness new technology to help students grow. Join us in Atlanta if you can:


New Research on Social Networking—What It’s Doing to Us (Part 2)