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As covered in our Friday round-up, last week ZDnet's Tom Foremski wrote a column that questioned the true size of social networks due to the amount of users with empty or fake profiles.

To back this up he cited analysis by Kevin Kelly, a former editor of Wired magazine, on 560,000 people that have 'circled' him on G+. The largest group of people were found to be 'ghosts' - those who hadn't even filled out profile information.

This week, social media agency Umpf has released an infographic based on a study of over 2,400 people's social habits, aiming to find out just how active UK consumers are.

Comparing the way people use the most prominent networks, it seems that Facebook has the most active audience for both men and women overall.

While YouTube takes second place, and Twitter third. When you separate this by age, a similar pattern occurs, with minor differences around the use of Flickr - and social media use decreasing as a whole as age increases.

Vikki Chowney

Published 21 February, 2012 by Vikki Chowney

Vikki is head of community at TMW. You can follow her on Twitter or Google+

249 more posts from this author

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Alistair

Is it just me or is that first part of the infographic rather confusing? It looks like many more women use twitter than men, but it's actually the same. I see what they want to show but that's not the best way of visualising it.

re: LinkedIn, I've seen stats elsewhere that this is about 63% male so it looks like the UK is bang-on average for this ratio too, and this sample gives the correct breakdown for that network.

almost 5 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

I actually didn't see it that way, since I just looked at the figures - but see your point now :)

almost 5 years ago

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Adi Gaskell

Not all that surprised. LinkedIn is particularly bad. The number of dormant groups on there, even with large memberlists is enormous.

almost 5 years ago

Hayden Sutherland

Hayden Sutherland, Director at Ideal Interface

A useful infographic with great UK-Specific data, but I agree with Alistair that the male/female one at the beginning is confusing.
As with all these things, they need to be versioned according to the date. Social Media figures quickly change and this data could quickly become obsolete... perhaps a dynamic version is needed?

almost 5 years ago

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David Gerbino

Very interesting data. I thought the YouTube data was wrong until I read the foot note. My unscientific view on You Tube was very high usage as compared to "ACTIVE PROFILE". When I saw the UK Facebook population very close to the You Tube population I thought bad data. The foot note explains the results and I actually agree with why you chose your methodology. There should have been an indicator like an asterisk or something next to You Tube in every chart section alerting the reader to what you have done. Additionally, you should have had the actual number of personal You Tube accounts available somewhere with the data.

On a final note, data visualizations are very important way to easily show statistical data. It is important that the visualization properly represent the data. The above chart has some failings (Alistair's comments). The designer who built this chart should do some research on how best to display data visually.

A good place to start is here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/naomirobbins/2012/02/16/misleading-graphs-figures-not-drawn-to-scale/

A simple primer on the design principles of Edward Tufte can be found here:
http://m.spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/innovation/tufteisms

@dmgerbino

almost 5 years ago

Andreas Pouros

Andreas Pouros, Co-founder & COO at Greenlight

What I find particularly interesting is that Youtube numbers are very strong, and with Google tying Youtube ever more closely to G+, maybe that provides G+ with a backdoor to increasing G+ sign-ups, at the very least for the identity management end of the equation if not for the purpose of powering engagement. Thanks Vikki for the data!

almost 5 years ago

James Docherty

James Docherty, Consultant at ePro

I can't see the definition of 'Active' user. The question asked was "how frequently do you use the following social media platforms?".

Does active mean daily, weekly, monthly log in or something else? It would be useful to know because one person's 'active' might be another's 'not really that engaged'.

almost 5 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

Hi James.

We were chatting about that earlier, I agree that this is open to interpretation - but I don't think Umpf intended this to be 'end all', just simply a finger in the air benchmark of usage. Perhaps they could expand, I'll ask them to come and comment.

VC

almost 5 years ago

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Jon Priestley, Account Manager at Umpf

Hi James - thanks for your question. Just for insight, we used the word active to summarise those who do use said social media profiles, whether that be on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. We primarily used this word to differentiate between those who open profiles on, for example, Twitter, but never post from them or engage with others on that platform.

So, in summary, the word active means 'uses' as opposed to 'open but not used'.

Hope that helps - any more questions, let me know

Jon @ Umpf

almost 5 years ago

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Jon Priestley, Account Manager at Umpf

Hi James

Not sure if my previous message got through to you - seems to have been deleted by the stream. We used the word 'active' to differentiate between those who use a social media platform on an ongoing basis (regardless of whether this is daily, weekly, monthly) as opposed to those who have a social media profile but never use it (as some people do to cyber squat, or simply to reserve a profile name for later use).

Hope that helps - any more questions, let me know

Jon

almost 5 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

Probably our spam filter there James, it's a bit tetchy...

almost 5 years ago

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Jon Priestley, Account Manager at Umpf

Thanks Vikki - seems to have posted ok now.

almost 5 years ago

James Docherty

James Docherty, Consultant at ePro

Hi Jon - thanks for the follow up info (no, I only got the message in the comments above). Given your perspective, I guess it's more about regularity than frequency. I think it's a really interesting subject and a challenging area to measure.

So, do you think "which of these social networks do you regularly use" vs "which of these social networks do you frequently use" would yield different results?

Clearly, FB's figures wouldn't change much but others might see a higher percentage of regular, infrequent users.

Is there an industry standard for 'active' users of social networks (like unique users is for web traffic)? If there isn't, I'd like to see one that incorporated some element of interaction ('like' something, message someone, post content, rate content etc) to qualify as a 'visit'. Simply watching a video on YouTube etc or being logged in is covered off in traditional traffic stats.

almost 5 years ago

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Jon Priestley, Account Manager at Umpf

Hi James - interesting question about the use of words 'regularly' vs 'frequently' - I guess it all depends how these words are quantified when the research is conducted - and I guess as terms, they're quite subjective and open to interpretation.

I would hazard a guess that the likes of Linkedin and Youtube would count more infrequent users than Twitter and Facebook, perhaps because they pertain to more specific content (i.e. careers/employment and video) than Facebook and Twitter - but I agree it would be interesting to see how it slices when the findings come back.

I don't believe there is an industry standard for 'active' when it comes to social media use - I guess the industry is still relatively 'young' in that respect. It would be interesting to do an industry-wide piece of research based around general perceptions of what 'regular' and 'frequent' use of a social media platform constitutes.

J

almost 5 years ago

Margaret Robertson

Margaret Robertson, European Marketing Director at Canvas Holidays

Overall some quite interesting information but I agree with David Gerbino that the infographic has not worked as well as it might. As an example I also read the male v female Twitter use as being quite different in size when in fact is much closer. Also while it might seem picky,I found the age silhouhettes a tad offensive, implying that from age 45 onwards those of us in the age group are shrinking visibly and having to lean on each other as we head towards the decriptutde of being over 65!
That said I think one of the best insights from this might be to demonstrate the ease of use of each network, and it speaks volumes about Linkedin which I think has failed to properly engage with its user base,or provide anything like the user interface of other networks - even when you try to use some of its features it is horribly clunky.

almost 5 years ago

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Gareth Edwards

Nice to see some UK focused statistics, thank you.

Thought it was a tad unfair to compare LinkedIn directly to the other sites because it is not aimed at the entire adult population.

It's penetration into the business community is likely to be much higher than, say, foursquare and much more comparable to Twitter.

almost 5 years ago

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Mark

I agree with Alistair, the infographic is totally confusing.

Infographics are supposed to make things easy to understand.

I don't want to look at it and have to think what the hell is all this about.

The original report from Tom F said that as little as 30% of social media profiles were active, while this infographic seems to be saying completely the opposite.

That's what makes it so confusing.

almost 5 years ago

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