The state of social media, by the numbers

A new Pew survey sheds light on the US obsession with YouTube and elderly Americans’ thing for Mark Zuckerberg.


April 9, 2021

Findings from a new Pew Research Center survey on America’s social media use make 2 things clear:

  • Older folks have a thing for Mark Zuckerberg (50% of Americans 65+ are on Facebook)
  • America is obsessed with YouTube

The video site towers over the social platforms

Among US adults, 81% report using YouTube, up 8% year-over-year.

YouTube was the only platform other than Reddit that saw significant growth since 2019. (This is Pew’s first such survey that includes TikTok).

For comparison — close your ears, Zuck — 69% of adults reported using Facebook, whose growth in the US has been static since 2016.

Young people are online (obviously), but so are older folks

18-29 year-olds hold the title for highest percentage of users across Snapchat (65%), Instagram (71%), YouTube (95%), Twitter (42%), and TikTok (48%) — no surprise there.

Still, a respectable 50% of Americans in the 65+ age bracket report using Facebook and 49% use YouTube.

Demographic factors also play a role:

  • Pinterest is used by 46% of women but just 16% of men
  • Instagram is used by 52% of Hispanic Americans, 49% of Black Americans, and 35% of white Americans
  • WhatsApp is used by 46% of Hispanic Americans, but just 23% of Black Americans, and 16% of white Americans
  • LinkedIn is used by 51% of adults with bachelor’s or advanced degrees, but by only 10% of those with a high school diploma or less

Platforms that never quite caught on with those 65+ include Snapchat (2%), Twitter (7%), and TikTok (4%).

We, for one, would drop stacks to meet TikTok creators in the 65+ age bracket.

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