Thursday, February 21, 2013

Facebook in the U.S. - Mixed News from Pew

The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project recently took a look at Facebook usage in the U.S. as a part of their larger omnibus phone surveys of American adults.
  The good news for Facebook is that some two-thirds of online American adults are Facebook users, making Facebook still the dominant social media site in the U.S.  And social media use generally continues to grow: 69% of online adults report using at least one social medium (which translates to half of the entire adult population of the U.S.); 92% of social media users maintain a Facebook profile; and people are using social media more frequently than before - 41% indicate accessing social media sites several times a day.
  One the other hand, 61% of current Facebook users say that they've taken breaks from regular Facebook use of at least a couple of weeks.  And for those who aren't currently using Facebook, 20% used to, but quit, and only 8% said they were interested in joining Facebook.  According to the Pew Report,
Some of the verbatim thoughts from those who took Facebook breaks include the following: “I was tired of stupid comments.” …  “[I had] crazy friends. I did not want to be contacted.” … “I took a break when it got boring.” …  “It was not getting me anywhere.” …  “Too much drama.” ... “You get burned out on it after a while.” … “I gave it up for Lent.” … “I was fasting.” … “People were [posting] what they had for dinner.” …  “I didn’t like being monitored.” … “I got harassed by someone from my past who looked me up.”…  “I don’t like their privacy policy.” … “It caused problems in my [romantic] relationship.”
A lot of the same reasons were cited by those dropping Facebook.
  When asked about the value of Facebook in their lives, more users reported Facebook becoming less valuable and important in the last year (28%) than thought Facebook had become more valuable and important (12%).  In addition, more reported their use decreased over the last year (34%) than indicated that they had increased their Facebook use (13%).  The bad news for Facebook is that the declining use is highest among the key demographics advertisers want to reach.  In the key 18-29 age bracket, 42% of users reported decreasing their time on Facebook in the last year; among those 30-49, 34% reported using Facebook less.

When asked about future Facebook use, most thought it would be about the same.  However, only 3% indicated they would be using Facebook more, while 27% thought they would be using it less.  Here, again, there were also demographic differences, with younger users being the most likely to anticipate reducing their Facebook time (and only 1% thinking of increasing).

It would seem that Facebook has been morphing from the hip, cool, must-have app for the younger generation, to a useful tool for keeping contact with friends and family as people move and disperse.  As for the younger generations, other research results suggest they're not abandoning social media; rather, they're shifting their focus to other social media sites - Twitter in particular.

Source -  Coming and Going on Facebook,  Report from Pew Internet & American Life Project


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