The emergence of social media

This morning I gave a presentation to members of the Ovarian Cancer of National Alliance about utilization of traditional and social media to advance the mission of their organizations.  It doing my research for the presentation I came across the results of a survey of journalists by TopRank Online Marketing that had some surprising results.

Age Distribution of Facebook UsersFor one, 64 percent of journalists used Google or Yahoo! to search for news.  Not Lexis/Nexis, but Google. And, while standard Google/Yahoo! searches were the most common, 27 percent of journalists had conducted what they were calling social searches.  Of the social tools used, 64 percent used social networks, 55 percent used blogs, 50 percent used wikis and 35 percent used micro-blogging sites like twitter and facebook.  So you know what this means folks — Facebook isn’t just for teenage girls anymore!

In fact, the average age of a Facebook user is 26, according to another report by iStrategyLabs.  Of the 200 million active users, the 35-54 age group is the fastest growing.  Of course only about 30 percent of the users are considered “active,” but that’s still a huge number, and growing everyday.

twitteruserchartAnd what about the microblogging?  Well twitter’s audience is even older — 31 is the average according to Social Media Today.  The users are 53 percent female, and 35 percent live in urban areas.  Twitter use is also growing rapidly, with 12.9 million new users per month.

With only 140 characters to work with, you wouldn’t think you’d be able to accomplish much on twitter, but I’ve actually met quite a few science writers and public relations people on twitter.  It’s become a great tool for professional networking, which is really surprising for a site who’s sole purpose is to allow you to answer the question “What are you doing?”