Which Americans are using social media, and how? The excellent Pew Internet and American Life Project updates us with useful information, especially for educators.
Some traditional patterns persist, such as youth being a strong indicator of social media use, and women being well represented (and sometimes in the lead). Some are changing, like income level and education no longer being predictors.
Several other details of note:
- Hispanics and blacks are more likely to use social network sites than whites. (This ties into hispanics’ greater use of mobile devices, I suspect)
- Women and city-dwellers are generally more likely to use social network sites than men and rural folk.
- Pinterest is overwhelmingly dominated by white women. Blacks and Latinos are proportionally barely there. And the gender breakdown is “the largest difference in gender of any site featured in this report.” “Women are about five times as likely to be on [Pinterest] as men”.
What do these results mean for education? A few thoughts.
First, if an institution (college, high school, museum, library) wants to reach non-whites, social media is the way to go. Except Pinterest.
Second, use social media if you want to reach youth and adults. Seniors are still working on it.
Third, Tumblr is for kids and teens. Not all of them, but it’s the most youth-centered platform in the study.