Including data from 2015 on pewinternet.org, here is a list of the most common social media platforms and the adult versus teenager distribution between them.
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Facebook has 72% of adult internet users and 62% of all adult population. Most internet-using adults use Facebook to talk to friends and family or to share pictures with them. Facebook is an easy way to share and communicate information, pictures, and video with multiple people at the same time in a public way.
The spread of adult vs. teenage usage of social media is most evident in the split between Facebook and Twitter. Both are platforms for sharing content to multiple people, but Facebook is almost more professional. Facebook allows people to use social media what it is meant for: sharing relevant content with others all over the world. This is not a post to praise Facebook and shame all other social media platforms, but each has a different function and different user demographics.
However, most teenagers do not use Facebook, and instead turn to Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media platforms to communicate and share things with their friends.
About 32% of people that are ages 18-29 use Twitter, while only 21% of people that are 50 or above use the platform. Twitter is most commonly used by high school and college students to share pictures or to post whatever is on one’s mind. However, Twitter is also commonly used to ‘subtweet’ or ‘indirect,’ which is the most common form of “cyberbullying” found today. Ultimately, Twitter is an entertaining media platform where friends can find and share funny pictures, videos, or post content themselves.
55% of people that are 18-29 use Instagram, while only 35% of users 30 and older use it. Instagram is a little easier for people of all ages to navigate than Twitter or Facebook. Posting pictures is simple and navigation is a lot easier because Instagram is strictly a platform for sharing pictures.
Snapchat is most commonly used with high school and college age students. While it was initially just used for sending “disappearing” messages, it now has chat and phone call functions. Pewinternet.org did not have any statistics on Snapchat, but one can assume that few adults use it and the majority of users are teenagers.
Pinterest is most commonly used by moms looking for fun recipes or crafts to do at home. The site offers lots of valuable DIYs and recipes for anyone to try. 31% of adult internet users are on Pinterest, and overall, more adults use it than teenagers do. Pinterest is a great source of information for adults, but for teenagers, it is difficult to communicate and share information with friends. For teens, social media is used more to communicate with friends and people across the world.
While both adults and teens use social media to share content with others, the distribution among platforms is vastly different.