Half of all adults say they use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or others, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. That may not sound surprising until you consider that, six years ago when the Pew Research Center first did such a survey, only 5 percent of adults said they used social networking sites.
Baby Boomers (aged 50 – 64) still trail their younger counterparts (aged 18 – 29) in using the sites: 51 percent of Boomers use the sites vs. 89 percent of younger adults, with 69 percent using them every day.
Interesting side note: While only 13 percent of online users polled said they use Twitter, another Pew study published in June found that African-Americans were more likely than whites to use Twitter.
Certainly in my own household, Twitter and Facebook have become routine methods of communicating with friends and family, along with email and texting. During Hurricane Irene, Twitter was, not surprisingly, the main way to get up-to-the-moment updates, with the likes of the federal government planning to use such sites to offer information.
The New York Times Bits blog says, though, that email and search are still the main ways that people use the internet, with 61 percent saying they go online to check email, 59 to search and 43 percent for social networking. But people seem a bit undecided about how much they get out of social networking. While the most common word that people used to describe their social networking experience was “good,” people also used words like “boring,” “time-consuming” and “overrated” to describe their experience.
Certainly, along with the benefits and positives of using social media, there have been plenty of reports about their hazards. The New York Times describes a recent case in which a man named William Lawrence Cassidy has been accused of using multiple Twitter accounts to post over 8,000 menacing messages to Alyce Zeoli, a Buddhist leader based in Maryland.
Photo by Josh Semans
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