facebook still popular with adults
January 1, 2014

Adults Continue To Embrace Facebook As Teens Drift Away

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

A Pew Research Center survey released on Monday found that 73 percent of online adults are signed up for a social networking site, and that site is predominantly Facebook. The survey also found that Facebook and Instagram users are the most likely to check in to the site on a daily basis.

Forty-two percent of online adults subscribe to multiple social networks, as evidenced by the growth of emerging networks like Pinterest, the survey found.

“While Facebook is popular across a diverse mix of demographic groups, other sites have developed their own unique demographic user profiles,” the report noted. “For example, Pinterest holds particular appeal to female users (women are four times as likely as men to be Pinterest users), and LinkedIn is especially popular among college graduates and internet users in higher income households.”

“Twitter and Instagram have particular appeal to younger adults, urban dwellers, and non-whites,” the report continued. “And there is substantial overlap between Twitter and Instagram user bases.”

Some social media observers have noted that while Facebook may be growing – the nature of the site appears to be changing. Writing for The ConversationDaniel Miller, a professor of material culture at the University College London, said Facebook has changing from a social tool into a way for families to stay in touch.

“Facebook has become the link with older family, or even older siblings who have gone to university,” Miller wrote. “To prevent overgrazing as others beasts have occupied its terrain, Facebook has to feed off somewhere else. It has thereby evolved into a very different animal.”

Miller was involved in writing the recently-released The Global Social Media Impact, which found Facebook to be less popular among young people – but still the dominant way to socially network. Older teens appear to have moved away from Facebook and toward other sites like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.

“Mostly they feel embarrassed to even be associated with (Facebook),” Miller wrote. “Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives.”

The study found that teens are not concerned so much with the functionality or feel of these newer sites. They appear to be pushed toward these sites and away from Facebook in an attempt to put distance between themselves and their parents.

“What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person’s decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request,” wrote Miller. “It is nothing new that young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore.”

The European-based study also found that older teens aren’t concerned with how their information is being used by advertisers or government surveillance services.

When the team interviewed Italian Facebook users, they discovered that 40 percent had never changed their privacy settings. Eighty percent said that they “were not concerned or did not care” how their personal data was accessed or that it was available to either an organization or an individual.