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This chapter is from the book

Age and Gender

Understanding the demographics of just who is using social media to communicate is an important step in being able to understand what is being said about a company or brand.

Some of the current data provided by the Pew Research Center 6 around social media can give us a better idea of who is generating all of the traffic (and who is listening). Let’s not make a mistake here: according to this work, approximately 74% of Internet users are engaged in some form of social media (that’s over 2.2 billion individuals). While we’ve tried to summarize some of the more simple statistics in Table 3.17, some numbers should stand out:

  • In the 18–29-year-old bracket, there is 89% usage.
  • The 30–49-year-old bracket sits at 82%.
  • In the 50–64-year-old bracket, 65% are active on social media.
  • In the 65-plus bracket, 49% are using social media.

Table 3.1 Social Media Demographics of Prominent US Sites as of December 2014

Time spent online using social media shows 8:

  • The United States at 16 minutes of every hour
  • The Australians at 14 minutes for every hour
  • The United Kingdom users at 13 minutes

And while we’re at it, remember that 71% of users’ social media access comes from a mobile device 9, and women tend to dominate most of the social media platforms 10.

Ultimately, we would like to include some of this demographics information in an analysis, but the knowledge of this information is just as useful. If, for example, we were wondering what the issues were surrounding health care (or other issues) post retirement in social media, we would be hard-pressed to find much discussion by that demographic in places such as Instagram or Twitter (since the number of participants in the 65 and older demographic seems to be quite low). That’s not to say the chatter wouldn’t be out there; there could be significant discussion by the children of those users in the 30–39-year-old demographic, but again, it may come with a different perspective. Similarly, based on this table, if we were interested in the content from females, Pinterest might be a good venue to consider.

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