#SOCIALNETWORKS: Pew Research Keeps Us Up With Changing Faces of Internet

Hispanics use social media more than any other ethnic communityThe latest surveys carried out by the Pew Internet and American Life Project are tracking both the most popular online social-networking platforms and the kinds of people who are using them. We enjoy sharing such findings with our readers because the information the folks at the Pew Internet group can help nonprofits refine their online efforts for the many constituencies that these nonprofits want to reach. The latest study, The Demographics of Social Media Users — 2012, points to a few new developments we’d like to highlight this week.

One set of issues is not so surprising: social media are largely used by the younger generation, particularly women and especially those living in cities.

Internet users under 50 are particularly likely to use a social networking site of any kind, and those 18-29 are the most likely of any demographic cohort to do so (83%). Women are more likely than men to be on these sites. Those living in urban settings are also significantly more likely than rural internet users to use social networking.

Graph on social networks
Overview of Pew Internet poll on social networking use.

But within that rather unsurprising distribution, the Pew Project has traced a couple of interesting bends in the data curve. For example, those making less than $30,000 a year use social networks the most (72%), then the numbers fall to 64-65%, but then the numbers tick back up for those making over $75,000 — valuable information for your donor outreach.

Also striking, the number of surveyed Hispanics using social networks is a notable 72% (note bene, Republicans), whereas Whites and Blacks use them 65% and 68% respectively. Is your nonprofit working within/among the Hispanic community? Are you targeting your audiences appropriately?

Finally, but quite unsurprisingly, Pew Research demonstrates the fact that Facebook leads all other social-networking platforms by quite a margin. Pew traces its use at 67% of all respondents. Twitter is next with ‘only’ 16%.

These statistics can and should be used to test your organization’s communications strategies. As social networks continue to grow and influence how we get information, nonprofits should be discussing ways to tailor messages among the communities they work with and from whom they ask for support. As Pew’s data combing becomes ever more sophisticated, so should organizations’ outreach on social networks.