This article was originally published on reverb, Drake Cooper’s reflections on advertising, creativity, and trends. Read more.

New Pew Internet Research on Adults and Social Network Websites

This week, the Pew Research Center‘s Internet & American Life Project
released a new data memo titled Adults and Social Network Websites that
looks at how adults use sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. Among
the main findings of the report:

The share of adult internet users who have a profile on an online social
network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years — from 8%
in 2005 to 35% now, according to the Pew Internet & American Life
Project’s December 2008 tracking survey.

While media coverage and policy attention focus heavily on how children
and young adults use social network sites, adults still make up the bulk
of the users of these websites. Adults make up a larger portion of the
US population than teens, which is why the 35% number represents a
larger number of users than the 65% of online teens who also use online
social networks.

Still, younger online adults are much more likely than their older
counterparts to use social networks, with 75% of adults 18-24 using
these networks, compared to just 7% of adults 65 and older. At its core,
use of online social networks is still a phenomenon of the young.

Overall, personal use of social networks seems to be more prevalent than
professional use of networks, both in the orientation of the networks
that adults choose to use as well as the reasons they give for using the
applications. Most adults, like teens, are using online social networks
to connect with people they already know.

When users do use social networks for professional and personal reasons,
they will often maintain multiple profiles, generally on different
sites.

Most, but not all adult social network users are privacy conscious; 60%
of adult social network users restrict access to their profiles so that
only their friends can see it, and 58% of adult social network users
restrict access to certain content within their profile.

For the full report please visit:
http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/272/report_display.asp