August 5, 2013, 11:10 AM

Social networks are not just for kids

Nearly three-quarters of online adults participate in social networks, with 18% on Twitter.

Lead Photo

72% of U.S. adults who use the Internet participate in social networks such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn, up from 67% in late 2012, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center, a not-for-profit research group that studies consumer behavior and the Internet.

That’s a gigantic leap from 2005, when Pew first started surveying consumers about social media. At that time, 8% of U.S. adult Internet users said they interacted on social networks.

Pew based its findings on a survey of 1,895 adults conducted in April and May.

Twitter is helping drive some of the growth, the report says: 18% of U.S. adults use the microblogging service, up from 8% in November 2010, the first time Pew asked about Twitter.

While younger consumers use social networks the most—89% of online adults ages 18 to 29 are active on sites like Facebook and Twitter—it is a part of many consumers’ lives. For instance, 78% of adults aged 30 to 49 use social networks, as do 60% of those 50 to 64 and 43% of those 65 and older.

Even though consumers aged 65 and older are least likely to participate in social networks, the age group has the highest rate of growth since 2009, Pew says. In spring 2009, only 13% of the group used social networks.  

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