I first started using social networks while I was still in school. I remember how popular hi5 was in those days. I saw myself moving on to Orkut and finally Facebook. A recent market research by Nielsen Claritas has released some debate worthy trends among users and relates social networks to the demographics and background of the users.
Nielsen examined few of the most visited social networking platforms in the US viz. Facebook, MySpace, Blogger,WordPress, ClassmatesOnline and LinkedIn.,
While the first fact revealed is not news to us – that the number of users participating in social networks is on the increase worldwide.
The second revelation is somewhat astonishing. According to the survey, in which more than 200,000 users participated, the more affluent societies prefer Facebook over others. The top 30% of the lifestyle segments are likely to use Facebook while bottom one third uses MySpace. There is no specific explanation for this. While some users say they prefer Facebook as it is cleaner other give its secure platform the credit.
A strong overlap was also found to be seen when it came to users of Facebook and LinkedIn. This is not the first time that such a research is made. Back in 2006, we had heard similar stuff from Danah Boyd.
When it comes to Blogging, the demographics have less to do with affluence. However, it relates to the geographic locations. A large majority of WordPress and Blogger users come from the highly developed urban areas compared to the small towns. Well, we could attribute this to the level of exposure in the various regions. For obvious reasons, the people dwelling in the metropolitan areas have had longer and greater access to technology.
Similar trend was also found to be true for the increasingly popular micro blogging platform Twitter. However, Twitter has by far the most diverse set of users.
India has a slightly different scenario in terms of choice of networks. As comScore, In India myspace is replaced by Orkut. The top social networks in India are (rank order) Orkut, Facebook, BharatStudent, hi5, iBibo and MySpace. While Orkut has the largest number of users still, a large fraction has been found to have shifted to Facebook this year. The thing about affluent and urban population holds good here as well. The other networks aren’t that much in the league though BharatStudent is coming up at a great pace.
When it came to user experience, the opinion was pretty much unanimous. All users seemed to hate when it came to improper incorporation of Ads in the webpages. The new tech savvy generation looks forward to ease-of-use while being able to connect to their mates after school or work and at the same time wish to have a secure environment for themselves.
I would love to hear back from our readers as to what they think about this demographic study. Is it just a coincidence or there’s actually a class divide when it comes to choice of networks? Also, tell us which social network appeals to you the most?
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