A surprising new study revealed that Gen Xers are actually the top social media users – not Millennials!
A January 2017 Nielsen report showed that Americans age 35 to 49 were found to spend nearly an hour more per week on social media than Millennials. Specifically, the report showed that Gen X spent an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for Millennials.
More predictably, Baby Boomers were shown to spend significantly less time on social media, with their consumption rounding out just over four hours a week.
What are the other key study findings?
Regardless of generation, the study found that social media consumption was up all around, with the assumption that ubiquitous smartphone usage has enabled these cross-generational behaviors. Whereas people once used their mobile phones to simply make calls on the go (a la the 1990s!), the rise of the always-connected smartphone to social media has given every generation the ability to stay connected in myriad ways.
The report found that in the United States, 97 percent of Millennials, and 94 percent of Gen X, had access to smartphones. The report also found that Facebook is still by far the most popular network, with about 178.2 million unique users. It was followed by Instagram, with 91.5 million unique users; Twitter, with 82.2 million unique users; and Pinterest, with 69.6 million users.
Finally, the report looked at second-screen activity on social media, measuring how many times Facebook and Twitter users employed those sites to post about programs they were watching or to interact with others’ posts. Again, in this category, it was Gen X that dominated: On an average day, the report found that 42% of those interacting with television on Facebook were ages 35 to 49 and only 40% were Millennials.
The evolution of social media usage will be very interesting to watch as Millennials have kids of their own and Gen Z emerges. We will be following this closely.
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