People Share Photos, Videos Online More Than Ever Before
October 28, 2013

People Share Photos, Videos Online More Than Ever Before

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

As more online services that allow users to post and share their photos and videos become available, the more these items are being shared, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The "Photo and Video Sharing Grow Online" report found more than half of all Internet users (54 percent) have posted original photos or videos to a website. Last year "creators" identified in the report accounted for 45 percent of the Internet population. But those who share photos and videos they find elsewhere online is close behind, with 47 percent sharing those photos and videos.

Mobile is one of the factors that contributes to the ease in posting photo and video content online. Many people snap photos or shoot video on their smartphones or tablets and then post them directly to sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Vine or elsewhere. Those photos and videos, in turn, are often shared with a larger group.

Some 9 percent of mobile phone owners use Snapchat and 18 percent use Instagram, the report finds.

"Sharing photos and videos online adds texture, play and drama to people's interactions in their social networks," said Pew Internet's Maeve Duggan, author of the report, in a statement on the research. "Pictures document life from a special angle, whether they relate to small moments, personal milestones, or larger news and events. Mobile connectivity has brought these visuals into countless lives in real-time. This all adds up to a new kind of collective digital scrapbook with fresh forms of storytelling and social bonding."

Those who share photos are double the percentage of those who share videos. The Pew Internet report finds 52 percent of Internet users have posted photos they have taken themselves. As many as 26 percent of Internet users have posted videos they have filmed themselves. Pew Internet considers anyone who has posted photos, videos or both a "creator."

There is also a "curator" group, which consists of users who share photos they have found online by sharing with their own group of friends, or posting content elsewhere. The rate of photo sharing is slightly higher than video: 42 percent of Internet users have shared images they have found online with others; videos are shared by 36 percent of internet users.

"Taken together, 62 percent of internet users have done at least one of these creating or curating activities. This is a significant increase from the 56 percent who did so in 2012. Some 40 percent of internet users are both creators and curators," the report said.

Specific sites, such as Instagram and Snapchat, were asked about for the first time in this annual survey. Nine percent of cell phone owners say they use Snapchat. The mobile platform that lets users send photos and videos that will subsequently be deleted is popular among younger users. Snapchat boasts over 150 million images per day are streamed across its app.

Instagram, which allows users to snap and edit photos, then post them to a stream that can easily be shared on other social networks, is used by 18 percent of mobile phone users. A wider segment of Internet users spanning multiple age groups uses Instagram. A recent study conducted by Brigham Young University identifies "sensory boredom" from the photo streams on Instagram with images of food.

The Pew Internet study was conducted as a phone survey between October 3-6, 2013 among a nationally representative survey of 1,000 adults ages 18 and over.