Social Media: Who Uses It?

Not too long ago, I was thirteen and first beginning to use social media. It started with Myspace, however, this was short lived. We middle schoolers quickly abandoned this platform and opted for one that would “bring the world closer together”. Thirteen years following its launch, Facebook has reached an astonishing milestone; as of June 2017 the platform currently has 2 billion active monthly users with 66% of them returning daily(TechCrunch). To put this into context, over a quarter of the world’s population is an active Facebook user. This mind boggling information is even more profound when you consider that this data is merely for ONE platform! The total number of social media users skyrockets when you incorporate the countless other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and many more. The chart below proves just how extensive social media usage truly is.

When you think of the “typical” social media user, for many young adults (18–29) are the first age demographic to come to mind. They do in fact lead the way and are the most likely to utilize social media (90% use it). However, seniors are making progress! According to the Pew Research Center, usage among those aged 65 and older has soared. In 2005 only 2% of this age demographic reported using social media, whereas today 35% use it (Andrew Perrin: Pew Research Center). This data portrays just how rapid the rate of social networking growth is among all age groups. A simple glance at the chart below shows an upward trend and one that is not likely to change anytime soon.

Shifting the focus towards gender and socio-economic differences among social media users, the Pew Research Center provides us with some insightful data. For some time, women were more likely to use social media than men. Today, 68% of women are on social networking sites compared to 62% of men; a difference that simply isn’t statistically pertinent. Although gender differences aren’t as relevant in the social media realm, socio-economic statuses are. Those American individuals with higher education levels and household income are more likely to use social media and this has consistently been true for the past decade. In regards to education levels, according to the Pew Research Center, 2013 was the first year that over half of those with a High School diploma or less used social media. In comparison, 76% of college graduates use social media.

There is an obvious trend that can be extracted from all this data; social media usage is on the rise and will certainly break new barriers in the very near future. That being said, I find it crucial to take a step back in order to understand the impact this may have on our society. By doing so, I believe we can avoid any negative implications and instead push for positive change. Facebook Chief’s Product Officer Chris Cox expresses this in his statement to TechCrunch:

“I live with the constant goal of understanding, for every single thing that we do, how do we maximize all that goodness, and curtail any way that it can be misused or turned into something sad”.

We must all keep this in mind as we tweet, post, and snap away!

Constine, Josh. “Facebook now has 2 billion monthly users… and responsibility.” TechCrunch, 27 June 2017, http://www.techcrunch.com/2017/06/27/facebook-2-billion-users/.

Perrin, Andrew. “Social Networking Usage: 2005–2015.” Pew Research Center. October 2015. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/2015/Social-Networking-Usage-2005–2015/