Two-thirds of adult internet users (65%) now say they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61% one year ago. That’s more than double the percentage that reported social networking site usage in 2008 (29%). And for the first time in Pew Internet surveys it means that half of all adults (50%) use social networking sites. The pace with which new users have flocked to social networking sites has been staggering; when we first asked about social networking sites in February of 2005, just 8% of internet users – or 5% of all adults – said they used them.
Looking at usage on a typical day, 43% of online adults use social networking, up from 38% a year ago and just 13% in 2008. Out of all the “daily” online activities that we ask about, only email (which 61% of internet users access on a typical day) and search engines (which 59% use on a typical day) are used more frequently than social networking tools.
Among internet users, social networking sites are most popular with women and young adults under age 30. Young adult women ages 18-29 are the power users of social networking; fully 89% of those who are online use the sites overall and 69% do so on an average day. As of May 2011, there are no significant differences in use of social networking sites based on race and ethnicity, household income, education level, or whether the internet user lives in an urban, suburban, or rural environment.
Read the full report, Sixty-Five Percent of Online Adults Use Social Networking Sites, on the Pew Internet & American Life Project Web site.