The No. 1 Reason Americans Use Social Networks

Two-thirds of online adults report using social media tools. The Pew Internet & American Life Project surveyed 2,277 adults age 18 and older last spring to explore their motivations for using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or LinkedIn.

The data offer few surprises. About two-thirds of users say that staying in touch with family members and friends drives their adoption of social media. 

And 50 percent say that connecting with old friends they’ve lost touch with is a major reason for social network use.

Lowest on the list? Finding a potential romantic or dating partner, at just 3 percent among all respondents.

Staying in touch
Women are more likely than men to say that they use social media sites to stay in touch with family members — 72 percent versus 55 percent for men. Otherwise, there are no major differences in terms of age, income, education, race/ethnicity, parental status or place of residence.

On the other hand, users under the age of 50 are more likely to use the sites to stay current with existing friends (seven in ten users) or reconnect with old friends they’ve lost touch with (just over half.)

Staying in touch with friends (current and old)Other data:

  • Women are more likely than men to cite staying in touch with friends as a reason for use (70 percent versus 63 percent.)
  • 56 percent of parents say that connecting with old friends is a major reason for using social networking sites compared to 47 percent of non-parents.
  • Only 9 percent of users say they visit the sites to make entirely new friends.

For more information on the motivations driving social network use, review the full study.

Now it’s your turn. Do these survey results track with your own use of social media platforms? Which one (or ones) do you use most often?

With thanks for the image to 10ch via Flickr.

You might also enjoy Does Your Audience Use Social Networking Sites?

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About creativeconsiderations

Christine Sullivan is a communications strategist with expertise in communications planning, writing and content development, and executive communications. She can be reached at mycreativeconsiderations@gmail.com.
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