demographics of social media

December 23rd, 2008


Just finished a research project on the demographics of social media.  Which led me to the question, “What are the demographics of social media?” Funny you should ask.

Who uses social media?

  • – Everybody
  • -  Nobody
  • – Young kids

As it turns out, all 3 answers are wrong. One of my most interesting discoveries was that, although the 18 – 29 age group is still the most active sector in terms of participation in social media (according to the Technographics survey, see below),  the fastest growing demographic for Facebook is those 25 years old and older, and  sites such as that were originally created for teenagers have since found that it’s the over-18 crowd that predominates.

Will the old folks slack off once they’ve reconnected with all their high-school and college friends and run out of things to say?  We’ll see.

It was also  interesting to learn that Facebook has 70% higher participation from African American users than the internet audience average, but that they make up only 14% of the site’s user base (see chart above, from Quantcast.)

Here are some excellent tools and sources for demographic data on any particular website, collection of sites that you designate, or ’social media’ as defined by a large, friendly research firm.

  • type in a URL, you get a very detailed breakdown of demographics measured against the internet average.
  • yields slightly less detailed demographics than quantcast, but you can create a ‘media plan’ based on a group of sites, and see  a chart of the aggregate numbers for all of them.  Conversely, you can define your target demographic and see which sites will reach them.

two really useful offerings from Forrester Research.


When speaking with smart, hip, literate and esthetically-attuned folks such as yourself… I sometimes hear of a lingering resistance to blogs and blogging that has alot to do with the words “blog” and “blogging.”

Yes, I know that “blog” was born of “web” plus “log.”  But that doesn’t make it right.  It just makes it the ungainly child of two rather plain parents.

A brief historical digression: the 16th century French writer Michel de Montaigne created the modern essay (or Essai, as you can see in his title page above) from the French verb meaning “to try, attempt, have a go at something.” But what if instead of Essai, he had chosen to call it a Schtrumpfwaffel or Shplaff or Dreck? Maybe high school students across the world today wouldn’t be writing essays in order to get into college.  They’d be procrastinating on their shplaffs, or else inscribing magical spells on birch bark.

So, in the dubious name of progress, I’d like to propose some alternatives.  Hopefully you’ll have some even better ideas.

Yes, you.



Sounds Like…

web + log blog blob, slog, slob, frog, bog, slug
live + journal vejournal vegernal, something either anatomical or vegan-related, or both.
journal + vif journavi journey, bonjovi, other rock bands from the ’70s and ’80s.


I’m walking by Duboce Park cafe wanting a cup of soup, and there’s some talk going on in front of a live audience and everyone is riveted, so I go in (ducking under the camera) and order my soup (whispering) and the show is about incarceration and different viewpoints and approaches with a focus on Bay Area programs.  There’s a cop, a lawyer, and a super sharp/funny host (Deborah Pardes) actually they were all smart and informed, cared deeply about the issue, and were speaking from a real experience of the situation.

One highlight was when they’re talking about convicts doing Vipassana meditation in prison, and the cop says something like “Oh great, the victim has 300 stitches, and the perp gets to meditate.” And the lawyer manages to totally include that perspective, and adds: but if sitting 10 days in silence helps them to arrive at enough consciousness of what they did and awareness to NEVER do something like that again, isn’t that the point of jail in the first place?

To learn more listen to their podcast!!!  but I just want to say how utterly cool it is that they do this in a neighborhood cafe with a live (and sometimes serendipitous) audience. Sure the The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are smart, and pretty cool, and have some high production values.  But what are the chances that you can stumble onto the set while in search of a cup of soup?

Next time, I’m going to try to actually show up on the set of this show on purpose.  Yeah!