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Rich Or Poor, You've Probably Friended Someone Recently

BY Nick Judd | Friday, August 26 2011

Half of all Americans and 65 percent of Internet users use social networks, according to a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project that also reveals use of the social tools crosses lines of race and class.

Other Pew research has shown, for instance, that black and Hispanic people are more likely to use a smartphone than their white counterparts — which would be of interest to researchers looking for ways to get information and civic participation across the gap in access to broadband Internet that separates rich and poor, given that roughly 25 percent of people of color live in poverty and are more likely to be unemployed, except that smartphone use also skews sharply towards higher-income folks. This survey, however, shows shows that well over two-thirds of Internet users in all income groups use tools like Facebook and twitter: 68 percent of people with a household income of less than $30,000 per year, 63 percent in households earning between $50,000 and $74,999 per year, and 68 percent of people in households wealtheir than that, according to the study. The differences in those numbers are not statistically significant.

The breakdown is the same regardless of where Americans live, too: Roughly two thirds of city dwellers, suburbanites and country folk are all sharing their lives online.

Just because everyone uses social media doesn't mean everyone likes it, however. Pew asked survey takers to give one word to describe their experiences using social networking sites. While "good" was the most common response, here's a little bit about what else they heard:

negative responses were recorded for roughly one in five respondents who answered this question and these answers included a far more diverse array of adjectives and, at times, expletives. Frustrations were evident among respondents who described their experiences using the networks as “annoying,” “overwhelming,” “boring,” “confusing” and “overrated.” Many respondents offered the words “addictive” or “addicting” as the first thing that came to their mind, while a sizable ambivalent group said their experiences had simply been “okay.” These neutral descriptions were also quite varied, though terms that indicated little experience with the sites—such as “Rarely,” “Seldom” or “Occasionally”—were common in this group.

Another response to this open-ended question? "Glitches."

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Moneyballed

The Gates Foundation's new "global citizens" email database, and why it's a terrible idea; why young people like the NSA more than older people; using open data about NYC taxi drivers to ID Muslims; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Monkeying

Net neutrality proponents call foul on the GOP's plans; StandUnited.com seeks to be the right's Change.org; tons of civic tech news from mySociety, Chicago and Civic Hall in NYC; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Punch List

Obama's State of the Union and the Internet; how HealthCare.gov shares personal data with third-parties; Facebook says it will give users tools to tag false or hoax content in their News Feeds; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Goggles

More on the shifting net neutrality debate; how Ready for Hillary plans to share its digital assets; the family roots of Civic Hall; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Urgency

How Republicans are starting to embrace net neutrality; more predictions of the blockchain's impact on society; new "innovative communities" legislation in Massachusetts seeks to boost civic tech there; and much, much more. GO

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