In this post for PC World I look at a few startling statistics on who is using social networks and their influence.
Here is the post on PCWorld and reproduced below
When I first started getting into social networking a few years ago, most of the research available said that the dominant age group using sites like Facebook were teens and young adults. I expected this for no other reason than the founders of Facebook were looking to share photos from college with other students and so that’s the age group that found the site useful and fun.
Over the next few years, as more and more people starting getting into social networking, the numbers changed so that now there are more US Facebook users aged 26-44 than 18-25. In fact, users 55 and over make up the fastest growing segment using the site – they’ve grown a tremendous 513% over the first six months of this year. If you were to add up all the time spent just on Facebook, it would come out to 5% of all time spent online by US users (or about 3 solid hours) each and every month.
What’s more amazing is the sheer number of people that have an account on Facebook. The site reported recently that it has over 250 million users worldwide. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 4th largest behind the United States!
It’s clear that people are flocking to social networks – but why? The predominant motivation for creating a social network presence is social rather than professional; although, as more people use professional networking sites like LinkedIn, the more the balance will tip away from arranging parties to arranging meetings.
With usage statistics like these, it’s clear that social networks appeal to more of us than just teens or college students. As more people join, the more useful these networks are for everyone.