Pew Internet & American Life Project
The latest Pew research shows that nearly twice as many adults are using social networks now than did just a few years ago. About half of adults (47 percent) report using Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and other networks, up from 26 percent in 2008. And the average age of a social network user has increased, from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010. “Over half of all adult SNS users are now over the age of 35. Some 56 percent of SNS users now are female,” Pew reports.
The research also shows that social networks do not weaken ties, as many feared. In fact, they are correlated with stronger ties.
Americans have more close social ties than they did two years ago. And they are less socially isolated. We found that the frequent use of Facebook is associated with having more overall close ties.
- Internet users tend to be more trusting than non-users: 46 percent of Internet users said that “most people can be trusted.” Facebook users are more trusting than other people.
- Facebook users are much more politically engaged than most people. (Related: Are political news websites where their audience is?)
- MySpace users are more likely to be open to opposing points of view.
The likelihood of an American experiencing a deficit in social support, having less exposure to diverse others, not being able to consider opposing points of view, being untrusting, or otherwise being disengaged from their community and American society generally is unlikely to be a result of how they use technology, especially in comparison to common predictors. A deficit of overall social ties, social support, trust, and community engagement is much more likely to result from traditional factors, such as lower educational attainment.
The findings come from telephone interviews (landline and cell) of 2,255 adults from Oct. 20-Nov. 28, 2010.