Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Creating the "Social networking sites and our lives" hashtag (#pewsns)

Last week the Pew Internet and American Life Project released the results of a study called "Social networking sites and our lives." It is full of interesting findings about how Americans use social media, but more on that in a minute. The part I'm excited to talk about is that while reading the report I tweeted at Lee Rainie (@lrainie), the director of the Pew Internet Project, asking if there was a hashtag to discuss the study. Lee replied that there was not and that I should make one. So I tweeted the hashtag #pewsns, mentioning @pewinternet and the researchers in hopes that one of them would retweet. @pewinternet, who has over 20,000 followers, retweeted, and the hashtag #pewsns became official. 

My tweet in @pewinternet's stream
Now, I have to admit that although several people have used the hashtag #pewsns, it hasn't quite taken off as I hoped, and @pewinternet hasn't actually used the hashtag since retweeting me. But still, this was a great learning experience that illustrates how social media makes connecting and getting a message out to big audiences so easy, even if the results aren't always predictable.

So, back to the study. Here are a few of what I thought were the most interesting findings (taken from my facebook post about the study):
  • "There is no evidence that SNS users, including those who use Facebook, are any more likely than others to cocoon themselves in social networks of like-minded and similar people, as some have feared." Does this burst some of the talk about filter bubbles?
  • "We found that while there had been a decline in the size and diversity of people’s closest relationships, it was not related to the use of the internet or mobile phone. In most cases use of the internet and cell phones was associated with larger and more diverse social networks." More related to this in today's interesting tweetup between social scientist Zeynep Tufekci (@techsoc) and outgoing NYT exec. ed. Bill Keller (@nytkeller), whose recent anti-social media piece caused quite a stir).
  • "nearly 60% of Twitter users, 39% of Facebook users, and 36% of LinkedIn users joined within the past year"
  • "Facebook is the nearly universal social networking site."  wow.
  • "Nearly twice as many men (63%) as women (37%) use LinkedIn. All other SNS platforms have significantly more female users than male users."
  • "The largest single group of Facebook friends consists of people from high school." Why does everybody want to stalk their high school classmates?
What do you think were the most interesting findings? Comment here or tweet about them using the #pewsns hashtag.


  1. That last fact made me laugh. Yeah, I have a ton of fb friends from high school, but I hardly ever interact with them.

  2. Same here. I've blocked a lot of them from my newsfeed. I just found some more interesting social media statistics( ) including the fact that Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears have more Twitter followers than the entire populations of Sweden, Israel, Greece, Chile, North Korea and Australia.