Edison Research just released its latest report on social network usage. The study compares the behavior and demographics of frequent users of social media to those of the population at large. The data is based on a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,753 Americans (including 371 mobile phone interviews) ages 12+ conducted in February, 2010.
Here are the principal findings from the report:
1. With both usage of social networks and the frequency of that usage increasing dramatically, we are truly witnessing a sea change in how mainstream consumers communicate.
2. Though social networking is rapidly becoming more common throughout the wider population, it is still most popular among the young; students are especially overrepresented.
3. Women are bigger social media users than men.
4. The biggest social networkers are, unsurprisingly, more likely to be big Internet users and early-adopters of new gadgets. But they still think the mobile phone is the technology that has had the biggest impact on their lives.
5. Frequent social networkers are also more likely to update their status on those networks — i.e., create content online — which has implications for word-of-mouth marketing and search.
6. Not only are frequent social networkers posting more status updates, they are also more likely to follow brands/companies than the average social media user — which makes identifying and appealing to those with the “social habit” crucial for brands.
7. Mobile access to social media is almost certainly a significant contributor to frequency of usage.
8. The data for frequent social networkers’ usage of podcasts, online video, and online audio supports the assumption that a significant amount of content is being consumed on-demand, potentially at the point where such content is shared.
9. Americans with “the social habit” are watching significantly less traditional television, but potentially consuming (and sharing) more “video” through alternative means.