January 9th, 2011

Who is your social media audience?

During the last few weeks of 2010, there were several studies released that revealed social media use by demographics.  As businesses continue integrating social media more into their communications executions, this information is valuable looking toward 2011 plans.  Here is a recap of stats from across the web; look for some more detailed thoughts on leveraging these findings in communications strategies in the coming weeks.


In 2010, Twitter increased by more than 100 million users, bringing the total users to 175 million.  Eight percent of the American adults who use the Internet are Twitter users.

And these users are influential, with 16%  having more than 100 followers.  Of those queried, 62% said they post updates related to their work life, activities or interests, with 12% doing so on a daily basis.  Twitter users are nearly equally divided between those who check the site on a daily basis (or multiple times per day) and those who check the site infrequently or never. Just over one-third of Twitter users (36%) check for material posted by others on a daily basis or multiple times per day — this is roughly comparable with the two in five (41%) who say they check the site less than every few weeks, or never do so at all. The remaining one-quarter of users say they check the site for updates a few days each week or every few weeks.

Some of the groups who are notable for their relatively high levels of Twitter use include:

  • Young adults: Internet users ages 18-29 are significantly more likely to use Twitter than are older adults.
  • African-Americans and Latinos: Minority internet users are more than twice as likely to use Twitter as are white internet users.
  • Urbanites: Urban residents are roughly twice as likely to use Twitter as rural dwellers.

Women and the college-educated are also slightly more likely than average to use the service.

Additionally, these new Twitter users are more comfortable sharing their personal information and show evidence of comfort with their online presence: were much more likely to provide a bio (69%), detailed name (73%), location (82%) and website URL (44%) as part of their public profiles. All of those percentages are more than double what they were in 2009. Also noteworthy is that 22.5% of users are responsible for 90% of all tweets.

Before getting too excited about Twitter stats, keep in mind that email use is still 38% greater than Twitter use.

Sources: Mashable, Pew Research


Overall, 50% of all 500+ million Facebook users log on to Facebook in any given day.  Drilling down a bit, 81% of upscale Gen Yers (average age 27) use Facebook every day, nearly twice the number who watch TV or read newspaper content.

The average user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 pages, groups, and events.

Of the Gen Y users, 63% use social media to engage with brands and more than 50% say that Facebook, blogs and brand videos affect their opinions about products.  In fact, 44% of overall shares occurred through Facebook in 2010, up 33% from last year. That number does not include shares done via Facebook’s “Like” button, which means the actual, universal percentage of shares through Facebook is likely higher.  And, Facebook users are updating their status millions of times per day.

What are their sentiments when Facebook users are posting all those status updates?  Facebook did some analysis on their own users and Facebook’s data team found:

  • A positive correlation between friend count and second person pronouns, total word count, communication, religion, swear words and sex.
  • A negative correlation between friend count and past and present tense verbs, family and emotions.
  • The time of day impacts word choice. Not only do Facebook’s users tend to talk about sleeping the most at around 4 a.m. ET, but they tend to talk about their work right before they head into the office.
  • Positive and negative emotions are also affected by the time of day; Negative emotions tend to peak at around 1 a.m. ET, while positive emotions tend to peak at about 7 a.m. ET. More importantly, negative emotions tend to increase as the day progresses at the expense of positive emotions.

And, by the way, if Facebook was a country it would be the third-largest in the world.

Sources: Mashable, Mashable, Mashable, Problogger


When it comes to blogging, as only half as many online teens blog compared to 2006, while users ages 18 to 33 also blog less than before. Blogging did see a slight uptick among older generations (ages 33 and up), but still accounts for a relatively small number of total users.  However, as of December, 2010 there are over 32 million WordPress publishers; someone is still blogging!

Sources: Mashable, Problogger

Online, in General

The Milliennials – those ages 18 to 33 – are more likely to engage in many online activities than older generations, namely social networking, using online classifieds, instant messaging, playing online games, listening to music, participating in virtual worlds and reading blogs.  Users ages 34 to 45, or the Gen X, however, are more likely than Millennials to visit government websites or get their financial information online.

Regardless of what they are doing there, Americans are increasingly spending more time on the Internet.  In fact, Americans are now spending as much time using the Internet as they are watching television, and the amount of time people spend on the Internet has increased 121 percent over the last five year.

Sources: Mashable, New York Times

One thought on “Who is your social media audience?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Link to book on Amazon