Employers Should Be Aware of the Results of Social-Media Survey

There are more than 300 million Americans are Facebook users. Facebook users who are looking for work are having their profiles searched by the 45% of employers who are hiring as part of their background-search process. The rapid adoption of social media has created a number of potential issues for the employees whose non-working lives are suddenly part of the employment relationship. Employers must keep up with the changing dynamic of the recruiting process, while maintaining the proper balance between too much and not enough information about their employees and potential hires.

Pew Internet & American Life Project’s newest survey, Twitter and Status Updating, highlights the demographic data behind these new challenges.

Social-media users have gotten younger.

In May 2008, the median age for users of Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Facebook was 32.25 years. That number climbed to 38.75 years old since then. Here are the specifics by site:

  • The average Twitter user is 31. That number did not change from 2008.
  • The average MySpace user has gotten younger-26 as opposed to 27 in 2008.
  • The average LinkedIn user is now 39, down from 40.
  • Most interestingly, though, is the continued “graying” of Facebook. The median age is up to 26 from 33.

Let’s Talk About Me. Approximately 19% of all Internet users report that they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or see updates about others. This is an 8% increase from last year.

Twitter Distillation. There is no disputing that Twitter is catching on. The number of unique users per month went from 2 million in December 2008 to more than 17 million in May 2009. But what’s everyone tweeting about, exactly? Those numbers are what’s most surprising.

  • Harvard Business School researches determined that the top 10% “of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets.”
  • Most Twitter users post just once a day.
  • 1 in 5 Twitter users have never posted.

Twitter Diversity.

According to the Pew survey, Twitter users represent a fairly diverse slice of American society. The only significant demographic difference is age. During the past 9 months, Twitter users in the 18-44 group increased from 19% to 37%. Users age 45 and older have been more reluctant to jump aboard the Twitter train.

  • Men and women tweet almost equally. 17% of all adult males and 21% of females who are online are also Twitter users.
  • 19% of white (non-Hispanic), 26% of African-American, and 18% of Hispanic adult Internet users tweet.
  • Education level seems to have a similarly low impact. 18% of adult Internet users with less than a high school degree tweet, compared to 21% of those with a college degree.
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