Already, we are being inundated with stories about the how social media will shape the 2012 campaigns (and how Facebook may, or may not, transform the Presidency itself). Two facts, however, limit the potential role social media will, ultimately, play in the 2012 election:
1.) Young people are heavy users of social media, but are unlikely to vote.
2.) Older folks are likely to vote, but are much less involved in social media.
Thus, the reality is that social media is best at reaching those least likely votes. In its 2008 post-election analysis, Pew found that while 72% of Americans 18-29 year of age were using the Internet for political activities or information gathering (and 49% used social-networking sites for these purposes), only 22% of Americans 65+ years of age engaged in such activities on the Internet (and a mere 2% did so on social media).
From: Aaron Smith, "The Internet's Role in Campaign 2008," Pew Internet & American Life Project, 15 April 2009
At the same time, young adults are roughly 33% less likely to vote than their grandparents. (more…)
Previously, I have discussed how Internet (particularly online dating) varies with age. Today, I want to take a slight different tact and consider Internet use as a generational phenomenon.
These data, no doubt, confirm expectations that Internet usage is less common in older generations; however, the severity of the drop in Internet use across generational groups is greater than virtually any other category, including gender, race, and class. The generation gap still constitutes the greatest digital divide in America.
For more trend data see Pew’s “Generation Difference in Online Activities.”
Last week, Wiley-Blackwell held an online conference, entitled: Wellbeing: A Cure-all for the Social Sciences? I was an invited respondent for a paper that might be of interest to Cyborgology readers called, “Internet Technology and Social Capital: How the Internet Affects Seniors’ Social Capital and Wellbeing.” Below, I have reproduced my summary and comments (more…)
Rather than compiling my own charts this week, I have gathered a number of figures created by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that address in the US. This first chart shows that it was only in 2008 that 50% of adults in America first had broadband access at home. These data might not be the best representation of access, however, because we know that many people, particularly blacks and Hispanics, are accessing the Internet through mobile devices and may be living in urban environments where public wifi is ubiquitous (more…)
The Pew Internet & American Life Project has just released new figures on the use of what they are calling “location based” or “geosocial” services (e.g., Foursquare, Gowalla, or Facebook Places). These services encourage social interaction through the sharing of location-based information. Usage patterns break down along some interesting lines. I have taken the liberty of compiling some tables for you.
Men are currently twice as likely to use geosocial services as woman. (more…)
A colleague, Zeynep Tufekci, and I were having a friendly debate about whether college students are using sites focused specifically on online dating or whether they are using Facebook and other more general social networking sites in lieu of online dating sites. I compiled some data from the Pew 2005 online dating survey. As you can see, online dating sites were most popular among young adults. I’ll try to compile the same chart for 2010 next week.
In the meantime, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Are college students using online dating more than they were five years ago? Are they using other sites in lieu of online dating sites? (more…)