Most adults use Instagram. Most adults use Twitter. Most adults at least use Facebook.
At least… that’s what you would think as a college student.
I’m connected with all of my friends on some form of social media. Whether it’s all of the three I mentioned above or just one, it’s guaranteed that if I want to connect with someone on a social media platform, I’ll be able to find that person on a social media platform.
Once in a blue moon, I’ll realize one of my friends doesn’t use a certain form of social media. My friend Laura, for example, revealed to me yesterday that she doesn’t have an Instagram account. (How did I not notice this!?) My friend from class, Nick, then said he isn’t on Twitter. (What!?) Based on my reaction to finding out these people weren’t on one specific social media platform, I guess you can see how rare this finding is for me as a college student.
And not only am I a college student – I’m a college journalism student. With the growth of social media as a news and communication platform, social media is a huge part of my curriculum. The idea of not having it seems extinct.
But in the Pew Research Center’s report on Social Media Site Usage in 2014, there were some shocking statistics. For example, 58% of adults in America use Facebook. Barely more than half. This is probably 20% lower than what I would have estimated, considering the fact that almost every person I know has a Facebook.
The statistics that surprised me the most were the numbers for Twitter and Instagram. Only 21% of American adults use Instagram, and 19% use Twitter. Although this still means millions of people use these social media platforms, it means even more people don’t.
I’m beginning to realize that there is a world outside of my hip college town. Perhaps if I visited a more rural community, I would understand where these statistics came from. Or maybe it isn’t about geography – perhaps those not on Twitter and Instagram are simply not smartphone users. Perhaps the wealth divide in the U.S. is the main reason so many people are left behind.
All I know is that if I don’t send out a tweet or upload a picture on Instagram tomorrow, I’m not behind. I’m actually ahead of at least 81% of the adult population.