Home » OPINION » Columns » TODD SMITH — Social media landscape dotted by longstanding trends, emerging narratives

TODD SMITH — Social media landscape dotted by longstanding trends, emerging narratives

TODD SMITH

A new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults finds that the social media landscape in early 2018 is defined by a mix of long-standing trends and newly emerging narratives.

Facebook and YouTube dominate this landscape, as notable majorities of U.S. adults use each of these sites. At the same time, younger Americans (especially those ages 18 to 24) stand out for embracing a variety of platforms and using them frequently. Some 78 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizeable majority of these users (71 percent) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71 percent of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45 percent) are Twitter users.

As has been the case since Pew began surveying the use of different social media in 2012, Facebook remains the primary platform for most Americans. Roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (68 percent) now report that they are Facebook users, and roughly three-quarters of those users access Facebook on a daily basis. With the exception of those 65 and older, a majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook.

But the social media story extends well beyond Facebook. The video-sharing site YouTube – which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform – is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds. And the typical (median) American reports that they use three of the eight major platforms that the Center measured in this survey.

These findings also highlight the public’s sometimes conflicting attitudes toward social media. For example, the share of social media users who say these platforms would be hard to give up has increased by 12 percentage points compared with a survey conducted in early 2014. But by the same token, a majority of users (59 percent) say it would not be hard to stop using these sites, including 29 percent who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.

Social media platforms show varied growth

Facebook remains the most widely used social media platform by a relatively healthy margin: some 68 percent of U.S. adults are now Facebook users. Other than the video-sharing platform YouTube, none of the other sites or apps measured in this survey are used by more than 40 percent of Americans.

The Center has asked about the use of five of these platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest) in several previous surveys of technology use. And for the most part, the share of Americans who use each of these services is similar to what the Center found in its previous survey of social media use conducted in April 2016. The most notable exception is Instagram: 35 percent of U.S. adults now say they use this platform, an increase of seven percentage points from the 28 percent who said they did in 2016.

Youngest adults stand out

As was true in previous Pew Research Center surveys of social media use, there are substantial differences in social media use by age. Some 88 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds indicates that they use any form of social media. That share falls to 78 percent among those ages 30 to 49, to 64 percent among those ages 50 to 64 and to 37 percent among Americans 65 and older.

At the same time, there are pronounced differences in the use of various social media platforms within the young adult population as well. Americans ages 18 to 24 are substantially more likely to use platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter even when compared with those in their mid- to late-20s. These differences are especially notable when it comes to Snapchat: 78 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds are Snapchat users, but that share falls to 54 percent among those ages 25 to 29.

With the exception of those 65 and older, Facebook is used by a majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups. But other platforms appeal more strongly to certain subsets of the population. In addition to the age-related differences in the use of sites such as Instagram and Snapchat noted above, these are some of the more prominent examples:

• Pinterest remains substantially more popular with women (41 percent of whom say they use the site) than with men (16 percent).

• LinkedIn remains especially popular among college graduates and those in high-income households. Some 50 percent of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, compared with just 9 percent of those with a high school diploma or less.

• The messaging service WhatsApp is popular in Latin America, and this popularity also extends to Latinos in the United States – 49 percent of Hispanics report that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14 percent of whites and 21 percent of blacks.

 

Tiger Woods

Roaring Mic | Tiger finds his roar

Tiger has found his roar!

At age 41, with a fused back and a Mohave Desert of PGA and life disappointments, the Tiger is once again on a tear.

Last weekend at the Valspar Championship, Woods turned the ordinary into extraordinary! He began the day with a chance to win and never did anything to lose control. Paul Casey, playing a little over an hour ahead of Woods, got in the clubhouse at 10 under with a sterling 65.

Woods, playing in the second-to-last group and looking for his 80th PGA Tour win and his first since 2013, knew what he had to do. His play was often spectacular. And although he came in second – he was a big time winner!. He began the day at eight under. He turned at eight under. He dropped a 43-foot birdie bomb on 17 to go to nine under, and on his long walk to the hole broke out in the biggest smile you’ve seen from him in years.

Repeatedly written off by critics after one dismal comeback after another and bedridden with constant pain just a year ago, Woods showed his latest return is different as he is healthy of body, mind and spirit.

Whole again after spinal fusion surgery nearly a year ago, Woods grabbed a share of the lead early in the final round in just his fourth start on the PGA Tour since being sidelined to heal yet again. While his putting proved to be his downfall, he did come charging late with a birdie from 43 feet on the 71st hole left him one behind. But his 39-foot birdie chance to force a playoff on the last hole fell two feet short. He shot 70 and for the first time since 2013, he broke par in all four rounds in a tournament.

Unlike previous attempts to resurrect his career – this is a glimmer of the Woods we knew. After his most recent surgery, Woods quickly regained his swing speed and his power came back. He started rocking his short game. What he needed, he maintained, were competitive rounds to produce rhythm to playing professional golf again, a cadence that would keep him sharp.

Shortly into his comeback, Woods reached a point where he started saying he just had to clean up his game and stay away from stupid mistakes to become a contender again. For that glimmer of a golden past, that swagger and that smile, it seems that time has arrived!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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