Pew Study Looks At Photo, Video Sharing Habits

There’s a lot of pressure on journalists and news organizations to be everywhere, not just when it comes to feet on the ground reporting but also when it comes to tweets, pins, posts, etc. on all form of social media.

We’ve even encouraged the trend with tips to maximize your presence on everything from Google+ to Pinterest. Which is why this Pew Internet & American Life Project’s study about how photos and videos are shared socially caught my eye.

Their findings shed some interesting light on how many (or few) people are actually using these various networks. (This wasn’t the focus of the study but looked interesting, so I created this graph.)

Primarily, their questions were about how many adults post photos/videos online and how many share them, and whether the media they post/share was their original creation or that of someone else. Nearly half — 46 percent — of the online adult population surveyed indicated they post original photos, while 41 percent share photos they’ve found online on social networks. Overall, their study found that 56 percent of Internet users do at least one of those activities, posting their creations or sharing someone else’s. News organizations rely on both: The eye-witness videos from the scene of the event and the “curators” who share the organization’s videos and photos so other online users can find it.

It’s the first time Pew says its asked about some of the newer kids on the block, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. But they draw some conclusions:

It is safe to say, though, that the rise of smartphones is a major part of the story because those phones have cameras built into them, making it easy to take and share self-made pictures online. It is also safe to say that the rise of social media, especially YouTube and newer services like Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr has made curating activities easier because they are organized for easy image and video-sharing.

The demographic information is especially interesting and worth delving into if your news organization is targeting a specific population. I wouldn’t have guessed LinkedIn was more popular than Twitter. News agencies use Twitter profusely but how many promote news on LinkedIn, meanwhile Pinterest and Instagram are gaining ground. It might be worth thinking about these numbers as you plan your social media strategy or try to avoid spreading yourself/your staff too thin. Is it worth the time to keep that Tumblr tumbling or should someone be pinning today’s top pictures?

Take this survey for what it is: a snapshot. Obviously it’s not a complete picture of the social media landscape (they didn’t ask about Google+ at all for example), and noticeably absent given the primary subject of the survey (photos) was Flickr, a quite robust photo-sharing network. It’s also curious, since the questions centered on videos as well as photos, that YouTube wasn’t one of the sites measured to see who’s using it even though it’s the preeminent video-sharing site today.

Go read the full Pew report to get a better picture of what they asked and what they found.