Online networking appeals increasingly to adults in United States

By August 30, 2011

More and more US citizens over thirty use one or more social networks, whether to stay in touch with friends or enhance their professional contacts.

It is likely that the professional social networks account for much of this trend. Whether or not that is the case, according to the Pew Research Center 65% of all adults in the United States today who use the Internet say they are members of a community platform such as Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn. That figure is up by over 60% since last year. Pew reveals that the keenest users of these sites are young adults, women in particular. The fastest growth however is being seen in the over-thirties age group. In May 2011, 83% of 18-29 year-olds claimed to be members of at least one social network, while the figure for the 30-49 age group was up at 70%.

Logging on every day…

So-called "seniors" are also logging on more and more to these online tools. Over half of all 50-64 year-olds and a third of the over-60s visit these sites, and pretty often at that: over 40% of those polled go to their web pages on a daily basis. As a general rule, only checking emails (61% of users look at their inbox every day) and use of search engines (59%) take up more of their time.  Meanwhile site visits by young adults are not diminishing either. Some 61% log in every day, up from 60% last year.

Largely positive reactions…

Pew also asked people about the quality of their experiences on these platforms. The majority expressed a positive and rather well-balanced view.  Internet users make use of the sites but generally don’t find them particularly revolutionary on the one hand or dangerous on the other. "Though some users find their experiences with social networking sites frustrating or overwhelming, most seem to view the services positively on the whole," concludes Kathryn Zickuhr, who co-authored the report.

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