Social Networking Sites And Our Lives, the latest study from Pew Internet, looks at how “people’s trust, personal relationships, and civic and political involvement are connected to their use of social networking sites and other technologies”.
The report contains an absolute wealth of information, particularly in regard to Facebook, but there’s also lots of data about Twitter, LinkedIn and even MySpace.
One section that stood out for me was a look at the educational distribution of each social networking platform. Pew’s findings suggest that Twitter users are likely to be better educated than their Facebook brethren but, perhaps unsurprisingly, neither stands up particularly well against their LinkedIn counterparts.
Pew sampled 2,255 American adults on their use of social networking services between October 20 and November 28, 2010. There were 975 total users of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.
As you can see from the table, the Twitter users polled were more likely to have some college experience, or a bachelor or gradudate degree, than those from Facebook. Some 26% of Facebook users didn’t extend their education beyond high school, compared to 16% for Twitter.
As you might expect from a business social network, LinkedIn users are far more likely to be highly educated, with 38% having been to graduate school. Only 2% never made it out of high school – MySpace users are five times more likely to have passed on their diploma.
The sample is perhaps a little out of date – things move very fast on the internet – and it’s easy to make sweeping generalisations that are entirely false. But if all of us had been asked to rank the average educational level of the users on each of these social networks, I’m not sure our results would have been all that different.
(Source: Pew Internet.)