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The popularity of Twitter and Instagram among blacks in America is surging, while white women under 50 continue to pin away on Pinterest, according to a demographic survey released Thursday.The survey, by the Pew Research centre’s Internet& American Life Project, also confirmed what parents of college students already know — 83% of Internet users ages 18 to 29 use social media.
But in revealing the demographics of users by race and ethnicity, on other emerging social-media platforms — Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr — the survey also attests to social media’s accessibility, ubiquity and influence. Pew compiled the survey after phone interviews with 1,800 respondents Nov. 14 to Dec. 9. Asian Americans weren’t included in the Pew study because there were not enough respondents to draw statistically reliable conclusions. Among the findings:
– Twitter, Instagram are popular among blacks. Among black Internet users, 26% use Twitter, far outpacing whites (14%) and Hispanics (19%).
Across all groups, younger and urban Twitter users outnumber their older and rural counterparts. But the usage rate generally held steady — around 14% to 17% — regardless of gender, education and income level.
Wayne Sutton, a social-media consultant and blogger at SocialWayne.com, says Twitter enables “a level playing field in getting (black Americans’) voices heard.”
“With the history of our culture, we now have an equal channel like anyone else,” he says.
Blacks’ usage of Instagram (23%) also outnumbered Hispanics’ (18%) and whites’ (11%).
“African Americans and Hispanics are leading the way in terms of buying smartphones or tablets,” Sutton says. He pointed to a March 2012 Nielsen study that says 54.4% of blacks and 57.3% of Hispanics own a smartphone vs. 44.7% of whites.
Women outnumbered men in Instagram usage — 16% vs. 10%.
– Women favour Pinterest. The gender difference was most notable in Pinterest, an online pinboard. A quarter of female Internet users are on Pinterest vs. 5% of men. “In the earliest days of Pinterest, the site was organised around topics that were especially attractive to women — fashion, food, crafts, shopping,” says Lee Rainie of Pew Research.
Overall, 15% of Internet users have tried the virtual scrapbooking site.
Nearly seven out of 10 Internet users in the U.S. use Facebook. Microblogging site Tumblr draws only 6%.
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