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Habits and Trends: Social Media Usage in 2018

Habits and Trends: Social Media Usage in 2018

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms have become ubiquitous parts of American life. For many around the country, daily checking of these applications has become as routine as rolling out of bed in the morning.

The social media landscape, however, is constantly evolving. The companies behind these platforms are frequently thinking and questioning ways they can improve. As a result, users attitudes toward them aren’t static.

Pew Research conducted and released its annual survey examining social media use of eight specific applications - Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, WhatsApp and LinkedIn. The research is chock full of valuable information, but below are some major takeaways for one to digest.

There’s a stark difference in social media usage between adults in their early 20s versus the latter.

It’s sometimes easy to look at everyone in their 20s as one in the same. But social media habits between the young twenty-somethings and their older counterparts are actually quite different. Pew discovered that social usage among those 18 to 24 years old was 78 percent. That number dropped significantly down to a little more than half (54 percent) for 25 to 29 year olds.

Chart - Daily Social Media Usage (Pew Research)
The median number of social media platforms used among 18 to 29 year olds is four.

With so many options to choose from, it’s no surprise that American adults are splitting their attention across multiple platforms. For 30 to 49 year olds, that median number drops to three. For 50 to 64 year olds, it decreases to two. And for those 65 and older, the number is one.

Adoption of Instagram is rising.

Year over year, the Pew Research Center found that the video and photo sharing app saw the biggest increase in acknowledged use. Approximately 35 percent of American adults in the survey said they were users of the platform. In contrast, just 28 percent of US adults claimed to use Instagram.

Move over Snapchat and Twitter: Pinterest is the fourth most used social media application.

Pew found that 29 percent of US adults reported using Pinterest. That was more than platforms like Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and WhatsApp. It’s important to note that the majority of the adults using Pinterest are women. Pew found that 41 percent of the platform’s users were women compared to 16-percent men.

WhatsApp is popular among people of Hispanic American heritage.

WhatsApp is widely used in Latin American countries. It’s not too surprising that adoption among Hispanic people in the US would mirror that adoption. Pew Research found that 49 percent of the respondents who were Latino in origin reported using the messenger application.

The highest density of American social media users are…(surprise, surprise) young.

Close to 90 percent of respondents ages 18 to 29 reported their use of social media to Pew researchers. In comparison, that percentage drops to 78 percent among those who were 30 to 49 during the survey.

Americans are finding it much harder to leave social media networks now than they were a few years ago.

In 2018, 40 percent of those surveyed by Pew stated it would be difficult to give up social media. In contrast, only 28 percent said it would be hard to stop using social networks just four years ago.

Facebook and YouTube are the leaders of the pack.

Sixty-eight percent of American adults reported they are Facebook users and three-fourths of them stated they use the network daily. YouTube tops Facebook, however, with close to 75 percent of the US adult population reporting they’re users of the platform. In comparison, the third-highest used app by American adults is Instagram at 35 percent.

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