Pew survey: More adults using multiple social platforms

A new report from the Pew Research Center co-authored by associate professors Nicole Ellison and Cliff Lampe finds that the level of user engagement with social platforms has increased significantly over the past year.

While Facebook remains the most popular social media site, with 71% of online adults using the platform, that percentage is unchanged since 2013. However, several other social media sites have shown increased usage, say the researchers, including Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

“A striking finding of this report is the growth in sites like Instagram,” says Clifford Lampe, an author of the report. “It speaks to people using the ecology of social media sites available to them to meet their specific communication and relationship goals."

“Facebook remains home base for many social media users. It’s still the most popular site and has the most engaged users,” says Maeve Duggan, an author of the report and Research Analyst at the Pew Research Center. “But the greatest change relates to the activity on other platforms. More people are using a variety of platforms, and the overlap between users shows just how interwoven social media has become.”

In addition to the 71% of online adults who use Facebook:
•    28% of online adults use Pinterest, up from 21% in 2013.
•    28% of online adults use LinkedIn, up from 22% in 2013.
•    26% of online adults use Instagram, up from 17% in 2013.
•    23% of online adults use Twitter, up from 18% in 2013.

Facebook users gave additional details about the nature of their connections on the site, which for many included family members, work colleagues, and neighbors. The median number of Facebook friends users report in their networks is 155, although of these, the median number they consider “actual” friends is 50.

“This suggests that users have diverse networks of people they are connected with, and that they understand that some of these relationships are with people they can rely on whereas other connections are weaker,” said Nicole B. Ellison, an author of the report. “Research suggests both these kinds of relationships are useful and provide different kinds of benefits.”

These findings come from a new nationally representative survey of 2,003 adults, conducted between September 11-21, 2014, that explores Americans’ patterns of social media use. The survey questions were designed in consultation with Nicole Ellison and Cliff Lampe, associate professors at the University of Michigan School of Information.

Read the full report.

Posted January 9, 2015