The demographics of social media users


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The demographics of social media users

  1. 1. Continuous Assessment Cover Sheet. DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS AND HUMANITIESSTUDENT NUMBER: N00100664________________________________________________STUDENT NAME: Thomas Roe________________________________________________PROGRAMME: Dl-245________________________________________________YEAR: 2________________________________________________MODULE: Enterprise Communications________________________________________________LECTURER: Mrs. Rebecca Roper________________________________________________WORD COUNT: 1529I/ we have read the IADT plagiarism policy and I / We declarethat this report/essay/project is my/our own original workSIGNED: __________________________________________DATE: __________________________________________
  2. 2. The Demographics of Social Media Users The Demographics of Social Media UsersIntroductionThis study was conducted to examine the demographics of bothsocial media users, as well as the attraction to the differenttypes of social media to different demographics. This isbecoming increasingly important as” users’ personality traitsmay be crucial factors leading them to engage in thisparticipatory media” (Correa, et al., 2009) . This study isimportant in the current age of the internet, web 2.0, as ithelps companies and individuals target specific audiences; letthem know if it is worth their time using social media and alsowhat type of social media to use. The information for this studywas obtained from other journal s, the internet and a studymade by the author for this research paper. The structure ofthis report will have a section dedicated to comparing andcontrasting the main reference articles and another sectionbuilt on the survey undertaken, with a short conclusion andsummary.Comparison of ArticlesPersonality traits are a common theme in all t hree articles usedfor this study. It is clear that they have a massive impact onwhat we do and how we interact, which is also evident in socialmedia. For instance “The relationship between extraversion andsocial media use was particularly important” (Correa, et al.,2009).This is not to say only extroverts use social media as(Boyd & Ellison, 2007) says that different SNS’s (social networksites) attract different traits among people. It is difficult to saywhich traits go to the different sites but there are some whichmay or may not deal with personality, the next section will dealwith this in more detail. But to continue with the personalitytrait of extraversion and perhaps openness the “exp erienceswere positively related to social media use” (Correa, et al.,2009) but this is almost a given since extroverts in general aremore open to change and new concepts. Although both men andwomen were both as likely to be social media users “only themen with greater degrees of emotional instability were moreregular users” (Correa, et al., 2009) which asks the question ifthese emotionally instable men are a mix both introverts andBy Thomas Roe Page 2
  3. 3. The Demographics of Social Media Usersextroverts, are men going to be attracted to social mediaanyway? In short, no not exactly, as these are only emotionallyinstable men and this doesn’t count the far greater number ofemotionally stable men out there.In keeping with the themes of emotions, dating s ites are anextremely popular form of social networking as demonstratedby Friendster in the early 2000s and its rival now.Friendster and focused on different demographics, being aimed at “strangers with similar interests”(Boyd & Ellison, 2007) and Friendster being at aimed atfriends-of-friends. Friendster had massive growth and struggledto cope at the time, this was down to people being morecomfortable dating someone their friend knows and att ractedmore introverted people as they didn’t want to talk to someonethey knew nothing about, there were a lot of restrictions inFriendster’s model which led to people trying to cheat thesystem, only to be banned, which lead to its overall demises,which shows people don’t like being told they can’t dosomething. on the other hand, has no restrictionsand allows people to do what they like it was founded beforeFriendster and is still running strong today. is moreattractive to extroverts due to meeting new people and its lackof restrictions, which fits in with the internet dating model ofmainly extroverts, but Friendster mainly dealt with moreintroverted people, “ (Boyd & Ellison, 2007)bloggers, attendees ofthe Burning Man arts festival, and gay men”, which ultimatelylead to its down fall.Another key factor in determining which demographics areattracted to each different SNS was race, with SNS’s suchAsianAvenue, BlackPlanet, and MiGente (Boyd & Ellison, 2007)all forming and attracting their particular ethnic group, with theblack community going to BlackPlanet, the Asian communitygoing to AsianAvenue and the Hispanic community going toMiGente. These cultural gr oups were more prominent in theearlier years of SNS’s with main sites dominating the web now,instead of many smaller ones.“History repeatedly demonstrates that rural communities haveunique technological needs” (Gilbert, et al., 2008). In (Gilbert,et al., 2008) a study took place between rural and urban usersof a particular social media site, with 3000 taking part,“340,000 online friendships and 200,000 interpersonalmessages” (Gilbert, et al., 2008) being analyzed. It foundstrong evidence that area demographics have a stronginfluence on your social media activities, notably, ruralBy Thomas Roe Page 3
  4. 4. The Demographics of Social Media Usersresidents had far fewer friends with the friends they do haveliving a lot closer to them. Also it was found that there were“substantially different gender distributions” (Gilbert, et al.,2008) This again shows not only does one form of demographicimpact the social media audience but the tw o different types ofdemographic effect each other to have considerable differenteffects, that shows the importance of looking at all the facts inrelation to demographics.SNS’s hit mainstream in 2003 (Boyd & Ellison, 2007) with theirbeing several main SNS’s at this moment in time (2011) eachhas a particular demographic target;Site Demographic targetLinkedIn Business ProfessionalsYouTube Video EnthusiastsFacebook Anyone over 13Google+ Anyone over 13Twitter Micro bloggersFlickr Photograph EnthusiastsXbox Live Video Game EnthusiastsPlayStation Network Video Game EnthusiastsMost people are members of at least one of these sites , if notmore, with the difference between these and the earlier modelsbeing polished and finished and as well the ability to categorizedifferent friends which creates individual sites for particularinterests inside these SNS’s , this has led to the folding of manysmaller SNS’s for people with particular interests such as Beboand MySpace both directed at musicians , these are both stillactive but are ants compared their former giant selves . SNS’sare only going to continue to grow into the future, with thebiggest of them being worth close to $10bn now, so one canonly imagine wh at the future holds.Survey and analysisA survey was undertaken for the purpose of this research paper and wasdesigned as to reflect and/or contrast previous research done. It wasopen to all who wanted to participate, but was focused mainly onmembers of I.A.D.T. There were a small number of participants totaling10 people with eight questions to be answered. There was an answer rateof 0.875 per question which is extremely high for a survey. The surveyitself took place between the 6th and 7th of December 2011 via a surveywebsite (Roe, 2011).By Thomas Roe Page 4
  5. 5. The Demographics of Social Media UsersAs in line with research there were a higher number of male respondents,further pushing the case of men being more extroverted, with only 40%women. These men and women ranged in age from 18 to over 30showing a varied demographic. Gender Age 20-30 10% 30+ 10% Female 40% 18-20 80% Male 60%Again as researched before, the area where someone is living has animpact on their use of social media, with respondents living at varieddistances from I.A.D.T. with 90% being of Irish decent. All respondentsused social media with Facebook having majority share with 70% ofrespondents saying it was their favorite form of social media aninteresting point to note is that 80% of respondents said they liked thesocial media site they used but 30% said they only used it because theirfriends used it. So this asks the question is there much of a difference insocial media use in all these demographics? One dominating factor interms demographics that seems to over shadow the rest and influence isthat 100% of participants were students; this explains the very similarnumbers being received.In saying that, there was one section of thesurvey that had largely different results; Time spent using social mediatoday, here is a chart to illustrate this: Time Spent per Day using Social Media 4-6hrs 10% <1hr 30% 2-4hrs 60%By Thomas Roe Page 5
  6. 6. The Demographics of Social Media UsersAs you can see from the chart there is a larger difference than in theprevious examples, with 50% of female respondents spending less than 1hour per day using social media and 100% of respondents over the age of30 with less than 1 hour as well. These further back up pervious researchwith men dominating the 2-4 hour slot and shows that men tend to bemore extroverted in relation to social media. Overall this is an extremelysmall scale survey and even with its lack of participants, it still showswhat the research has said previous and demonstratesthat even in smallscale project, it is possible to get the same results as one with thousandsof people.ConclusionIn conclusion the research explores the d em og r aph i c s o f b o th s oci al m edi au s e rs , a s w el l as th e att r ac ti on to th e d i ffe r en t t yp e s of s oc i al medi a t odi ff e r en t d em og r aph i cs . It sh ow e d th e l i n k b etw e en th e j ou r n al s stu di e dan d th e su r v ey u n d e rta k en . Th e su rv e y i t’ s - s el f d e m on s tr at e d th at th eth e o ri e s i n th e j ou r n al s, pu t i n to p ra cti c e, h a v e si mi l ar ou t c o m es a n dth u s fu rt h er en h an c e s th e val u e o f th i s r e s ea r ch . Al th ou gh i t i s s ti l lsu gg e st fu r th e r r e s e ar ch b ei n g d on e , a s to c o mpl e m en t th i s wo r k . O v e ral lth i s stu d y pu t th e o r y i n t o pr a cti c e an d i t w o r k ed , gi vi n g re a s on f o rgr e at e r d e v el op m en t i n th e t opi c .BibliographyBoyd, D. M. & Ellison, N. B., 2007. Social Network Sites: Definition,History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication,13(1), pp. 210-230.Correa, T., Willard Hinsley, A. & Gil de Zuniga, H., 2009. Who interacts onthe Web?: The intersection of users’ personality and social media use.26(2), pp. 247-253.Gilbert, E., Karahalios, K. & Sandvig, C., 2008. The network in thegarden: an empirical analysis of social media in rural life.Google, 2011. Google Scholar. [Online]Available at:[Accessed 07 12 2011].Roe, T., 2011. Social Media Use Survey. Leinster: s.n.Wikipedia, 2011. Wikipedia. [Online]Available at:[Accessed 7 12 2011].By Thomas Roe Page 6