While social media continues to be a popular communication tool, according to a new survey released by the Pew Research Center some sites aren't as well-received as others.

Initially, social media may have been a way to connect with friends, colleagues and family, but now it has become much more than that. Over the past few years, these networks have redefined themselves and changed how people can interact, share and market in a digital atmosphere. According to an article written by Marisa Peacock that examines social media trends and new releases in 2012:

Many more prominent channels emerged and older ones became more refined as they worked to embrace where and how we engage, manage and otherwise share information..”

The survey, "Demographics of Social Media Users -- 2012” was compiled by the Internet and American Life Project at Pew Research.It was conducted from November 14 to December 9, 2012 and had 1,802 respondents. The social media sites included in the survey were Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr.


Twitter and Facebook

Facebook, which most recently added a search graph functionand voice calling for its iPhone application, has predominately been one the most popular social networking sites -- this doesn't seem to be changing. The network has more than one billion users, according to statistics released in December 2012.

As for the Pew Report, most of Facebook users are women, at 72%, and it's most actively used by young adults aged 18-30 and 30 to 49. The site has also proven popular with other kinds of users. Those 66 years of age or older, show a 35% usage, and the overall amount of men who have a Facebook accountis at 62 percent.

Twitter, despite doubling its users since 2010 and updating the site’s functionality and discovery experience, doesn't seem to be as popular with respondents, as only about 16% of those surveyed actually use it -- it is however most popular among users ages 18-30.

Learning Opportunities

Content Sharing with Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr

Twitter and Facebook may have content sharing capabilities, but there are also sites primarily dedicated to the subject making a social media impact

Pinterest is the newest of these sites, as it only moved from beta to public use last year. Despite its ‘new’ status, it’s proving to be quite popular -- especially among women.While only five percent of men surveyed use the site, about a quarter of women do, especially those who are from the ages of 18-49 and live in urban or suburban areas.

Facebook owned Instagram, is also most popular in the 18-29 and 30-49 range at 28 and 14 percent respectively, but unlike Pinterest, men also seem to be supporting the photo sharing tool at 10 percent.

Instagram and Pinterest may have a fair amount of use, but Tumblr isn't as lucky. Only about 6% of both men and women use the site, while the highest amount of Tumblr users fell to the 18-29 age group with 13 percent.

Who’s the Most Social?

Although the survey numbers were quite close, someone had to come out on top. Overall,the report found that users mostly 18-29 year of age used the internet for social media purposes (83%) followed closely by the 30 to 49 age category (77%). Women(72%) are more likely to use social media over men and those living in an urban setting are online more often than those in rural areas.