[Excerpt from ReadWriteWeb
Written by Sarah Perez / September 28, 2009
Oh how the mighty have fallen. The one time king of social networks, MySpace, now has the honor of being the site where the less affluent members of the online population stake their claims by way of bedazzled profiles overrun with auto-playing videos and songs. Meanwhile, the upscale, financially solvent users have moved on – and by moved on, we mean to Facebook, of course. At least those are the findings of the latest social networking study done by American consumer behavior analysis firm Nielsen Claritas.
By no means is this the first time that the demographics of today’s social networks have been scrutinized and analyzed by researchers, nor is it the first time that they’ve come to this same conclusion. Earlier this summer, for example, Anderson Analytics looked into this same topic, studying trends among social networking users on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They found that Facebook users tend to be better off financially, while MySpace users’ income was the lowest out of the four networks studied.
Those claims are now being further backed up by the Nielsen study, which, in addition to noting the financial discrepancies, also discovered that many social networking users tend to be urbanites, especially those engaged in blogging and tweeting.
The study examined seven of the most popular social networking and blogging sites including Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, Twitter, WordPress, ClassmatesOnline, and LinkedIn. Through the Claritas product, Nielsen segments their online panel of 200,000+ participants into demographically and behaviorally distinct groups which include everything from “Young Digerati” to “Heartlanders.” After doing so, they found a notable difference between the two top social networking sites, Facebook and MySpace.
According to the research, the top third of lifestyle segments relative to affluence (aka the “richest” users) are 25% more likely to use Facebook than those in the lower third. The bottom third segments related to affluence (aka the “poorest”) are 37% more likely to use MySpace. Also of note, Facebook users are more likely to use LinkedIn, a site for professional business networking, and again, another factor which points towards the differences in demographics between the two social networks.
Besides confirming the income discrepancies between MySpace and Facebook, Nielsen also discovered that those involved in blogging and tweeting tend to live in more urban areas such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. The 12 “Urban” lifestyle groups tracked by the company are more likely to use Blogger, WordPress, and Twitter than the 22 “Town and Rural” segments. However, there was no mention of these groups being more affluent, just more urban.