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Recent Social Media Use Surveys Reveal a Lack of Mobility in Mobile

February 21, 2013 No Comments
Jared Childs
Jared Childs

Survey of college students by Leftbrain’s Jared Childs aligns with recent Harvard Business Review discovery that most social activity on mobile devices is done at home and not on the go.


It’s safe to say social media has changed the way the modern world works. If you weren’t convinced by LL Cool J’s repetitive Twitter plugs during the Grammys, then here are some stats for you: The number of Facebook users is predicted to climb to 1.5 billion this year, Twitter is putting out close to 500 million tweets per day, and, as of November of last year, the number of daily Pinterest users has increased 145% from January 2012.

After immersing myself in usage statistics, I was curious as to how my peers compared to national trends. So, I put on my lab coat and goggles in search of 50 guinea pigs (no animals were hurt in the making of this survey) and surveyed my friends on their social media use.

What better way to put out a survey on social media than by using social networks? I sent out the survey through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The respondents’ ages ranged from 19-51, with 76% in the 19-24 range. The majority (64% ) were female.

It seems my peers are, in many ways, on par with national trends when it comes to using social media. Much like the rest of America, smartphones were the device of choice (84%) for viewing social networks amongst my peers. Despite the heavy use of mobile devices, however, the respondents aren’t using social media on the move. The majority of people were most likely to use social media either while watching TV (49%) or in bed (26.5%)!

At first, I was shocked by these figures. For a sample group comprised of mostly college students, shouldn’t we be on the go, checking our networks over a beer? I sifted through some national statistics and according to Harvard Business Review this at-home use is also a national trend. “To marketers, the prospect of reaching shoppers through their smartphones is tantalizing. But mobile doesn’t always mean on the go. New data show that 68% of consumers’ smartphone use happens at home.” Well I’ll be… if my peers are on par with national trends, they might just be predictors of trends to come.

When asked which social networks they increased usage with over the past year, the sample group reported the heaviest increased usage in Twitter with 63.3%. If, in fact, my peers are predictors of national trends, then Twitter’s latest acquisition makes sense. For those who missed it, Twitter recently bought a social TV analytics company, Bluefin Labs. Twitter knows people are being “social” while watching TV, and they put big money on the idea that this trend will continue to grow.

Demographically, the results of the sample group continue to coincide with national trends. When analyzing the demographic data one thing was apparent; females use Pinterest. Out of the sample group, everyone that used Pinterest was a female. This didn’t come as a surprise to me considering my girlfriend and all of her friends were crafting things they had “pinned” all summer. Pinterest is comprised of almost all female users nationally as well. In fact, Forbe’s reported that 97% of Pinterest users are female.

With great pinning, comes great spending, right? According to Marketing Pilgrim, “Pinterest buyers spend more money, more often, and on more items than any of the other top 5 social media sites.” So, while the females in my sample group weren’t using social media to make purchases, perhaps Pinterest is grooming them to become future buyers. Women control the spending via social media, and they’re good at it! I can’t speak for every man, but I’m perfectly fine with my social role as the information consumer and not the buyer.

Tracking trends is key when analyzing social media because in the end, what the people want is what the people get. If you don’t believe me, ask fans of Maker’s Mark bourbon, who were so outraged by the announcement that Maker’s Mark was going to water down its beverage due to supply shortfalls that the bourbon manufacturer recanted. A word to the wise: never underestimate the power in numbers or of social media.

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