The non-partisan Pew Research Center recently released its “Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015” survey, an analysis and comparison of evolving communications tools such as social media and messaging service platforms across various demographics.

The initial findings (the study gathered data from more than 1900 adults aged 18 and older) show that 85 percent of the adult population use the Internet on a regular basis, and that 67 percent use a smartphone. Among those surveyed, 72 percent (representing two-thirds of the entire population), use at least one of the five major social media platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn), and at least 70 percent of these are engaged as frequently as once a day.

Among the social media platforms used by those in the survey, Facebook is the clear leader, as almost three-quarters of the respondents reported using this service. Women were ten percent more likely than men (77 to 66), as well as those identifying as Hispanic, to use Facebook (75 percent). Facebook usage trended towards a younger crowd with 81 percent of those 18 – 49 indicating access. However, overall growth in the use of Facebook has slowed, increasing only one percent from 2014, and just five percent since 2012.

The social media platforms with the greatest rate of growth were Pinterest, showing 31 percent usage (29 percent in 2014 and 15 percent in 2012) and Instagram clocking in at 28 percent (up from 28 percent and 13 percent in ’14 and ’12, respectively).

Women significantly outdistanced men in Pinterest engagement (44 to 16 percent), but the numbers temper a bit on Instagram (31 to 24 percent). Those who identified as Black, non-Hispanic were most likely to use Instagram (47 percent, compared to 38 percent of Hispanic and 21 percent of White, non-Hispanic). With Pinterest, Hispanic, and White, non-Hispanic were equal at 32 percent while Black, non-Hispanic cited 23 percent usage.

Twitter usage, though up from 16 percent in 2012, has remained at 23 percent over the last two years, and this is the one platform men were more likely to use than women (25 to 21 percent). LinkedIn, on the other hand, was the only platform to show an overall decline, dropping to 25 percent, down from 28 percent in 2014. However, it is still up from its 20 percent in 2012.

Daily or weekly usage of the five platforms again favored Facebook. 70 percent said they used it daily, and another 21 percent indicated weekly use. Instagram was next (59; 17), followed by Twitter (38; 21), and Pinterest (27; 28). LinkedIn had the highest weekly use (30 percent) but lagged significantly behind on daily use with only 22 percent.

The study also addressed the subject of mobile messaging services, given that two-thirds of the population uses smartphones. Pew Research found that more than a third of all smartphoners use some type of messaging app that is separate from the SMS card on their smartphone, and a significant number of these (17 percent), have messaging apps that automatically delete sent messages.


Duggan, Maeve. “Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015” Pew Research Center. August 2015.