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Social networking and our lives

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Sunday June 19, 2011 )

It only seems like yesterday Facebook was a closed shop and MySpace ruled the roost. Things have changed, as has the impact of social networks on our lives generally.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project’s latest survey report looks at how use of social networking sites has affected people’s sense of trust, tolerance and community involvement.

59% of internet users surveyed used at least one social networking site last year, nearly double the results of 2008. Social network users are also getting older too, with over half all adult users now over the age of 35.

92% of social network users were on Facebook; 29% on MySpace, 18% used LinkedIn and 13% have Twitter accounts.

Even in terms of engagement, Facebook leads the pack with 52% of Facebook users engaging with the platform on a daily basis. MySpace’s daily engagement is just 7%. Twitter has quite impressive daily engagement of 33%.

Some other Facebook related statistics; based on an average day

– 15% of Facebook users update their status.
– 22% comment on another’s post or status.
– 20% comment on another user’s photos.
– 26% “Like” another user’s content.
– 10% send another user a private message

Based on the information in Pew’s report, Facebook would appear to be the poster-child of social networking; either fostering what would be perceived to be positive attributes or attracting a certain type of person displaying them; such as:

– Facebook users are more trusting than others.
– They have more close relationships.
– They get more social support than other people.
– They are much more politically engaged than most people.

However, the report says MySpace users are more likely to be open to opposing points of view.

I can’t say I know much about Mark Zuckerberg (and I’m taking how he’s portrayed in the movie The Social Network with a grain of salt); but I often wonder in his quiet moments whether he finds the success and the responsibility of Facebook overwhelming. Lives are played out through his creation – hopes and dreams are achieved and shattered, people find love and suffer rejection, fortunes are being made and lost. It’s not unlike Google’s role in people’s lives, just far more personal.

According to statistics from Facebook, the service now has more than 500 million active users who collectively spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the service.

And to think, he’s achieve all this and he hasn’t even hit 30 years of age as yet.

Pew’s report is based on data from telephone interviews conducted from October 20 to November 28, 2010, among a sample of 2,255 adults, age 18 and older. You can read the full survey report here (PDF).


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