The survey results are in: Facebook is still alive…for most!

At the end of last year, a study came out saying that Facebook was ‘dead and buried’ for teens in the U.K. Curious to find out whether Facebook was ‘dead and buried’ in the U.S., I created an electronic survey on SurveyMonkey to find out more about Facebook use among Americans of various ages. I used a snowball sample to arrive at my results and spread the word about it via social media. In total, 115 people responded to my survey; however, because I was using the free version of SurveyMonkey, I was only allowed to document 100 responses.

My Results

Gender and Age

Of those who responded to my survey, 73% were female and 27% were male. The majority of the people, 32%, fell into the 18-24 range. Those in the 25-34 were a close second, coming in at 28%, and the third highest group was the 45-54 range, coming in at 26%. Unfortunately, I did not receive responses from anyone under 17, which is likely because this group has deemed Facebook to be uncool, but also because I don’t interact with many teens. I also didn’t receive any responses from the 75 and up crowd, so it seems most grandparents don’t use Facebook.

What do you primarily use Facebook for?

As I suspected, the majority of people, 84%, use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Five percent said they use it to keep up with current events and 4% for professional or networking reasons. No one selected the “to share articles” option. While I think many people use Facebook to share interesting articles they find, it’s not their primary reason for using the site.

Facebook Use Survey Question 3

About how often do you view or access Facebook?

Despite a drop in teen use, it seems that most Americans above 18 are still addicted to Facebook in some manner.  The majority, 81.82%, of my respondents admitted to logging on to Facebook multiple times a day. About 10% said that they log on once a day and about 4% a few times a week. Only three of the respondents said that they log on to Facebook less than a few times a week.

Facebook Use Survey Question 4

Have you ever deleted your Facebook account?

Seventy-eight percent said that they had never deleted their Facebook account, and 22% claimed to have deleted it at one point but later chose to reactivate it. No one ended up selecting the “yes, and I do not plan to reactivate it” or “I’ve never had a Facebook” responses, so it seems that the majority of Americans are still attached to their Facebook account.

Facebook Use Survey Question 5

Why did you delete your Facebook account?

I wanted to include this question to find out more about those people who have, at some point, deactivated their Facebook account. The majority of respondents who fell into this category said that Facebook took up too much of their time. This was followed by those who felt Facebook was boring/that they didn’t use it as much. Only one person claimed to have left Facebook because their parents/relatives joined, which has been cited as a top reason for the decline in teen use.

Facebook Use Survey Question 6

What do you like most/least about Facebook?

This was my only free-response question. While it was the hardest to quantify, I felt it was necessary to include it.

What people tend to like most

  • It’s not just pictures; it’s articles, videos, peoples’ opinions all in one.
  • Being able to see what friends and family are up to without having to pick up the phone and call every week.
  • It keeps them up to date on current events.
  • It’s innovative and changes with the times.
  • Posting pictures

What people tend to like least

  • Lack of privacy
  • Facebook ads cluttering their newsfeed
  • Constant updates to the platform
  • When people post obnoxious things or complain

Please rank the following social media networks in order of preference: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+

The results in order of most to least popular are: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. My prediction is that, in the coming years, Google+ will make top three.

Facebook Use Survey Question 8

Since last year, how has your Facebook activity changed?

Fifty-one percent said that they access Facebook about the same as they did last year, 25% more than they did last year and 23% less than they did last year. The fact that most people are accessing it about the same as they did last year means that the social media network may have already reached its peak. The fact that 1/4 of the respondents access it more than they did last year may be a result of the fact that many of those who took my survey are social media masters students and likely access Facebook for work.

Facebook Use Survey Question 8

How strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement ‘Facebook is dead and buried’?

Most still consider Facebook to be going strong, as 49% strongly disagree with this statement. Twenty-nine percent somewhat disagree, 15% are neutral about this statement, 6% somewhat agree and only 1% strongly disagree.

Facebook Use Survey Question 9

What I could’ve done differently

  • While my survey was able to show Facebook use among Americans overall, the free version of SurveyMonkey made it difficult for me to look specifically at which age groups were more active than others. Perhaps I could’ve found a way around this by selecting a purposive sample instead of opening up my survey to the general population.
  • If time had permitted, I would’ve found a way to seek out teens to take my survey.
  • By posting my survey on Facebook, I was automatically attracting regular Facebook users. Those who have a Facebook but rarely log on likely didn’t see my survey, and therefore did not take it.
  •  I would’ve added the following four answer choices to the question that asked why people deleted their Facebook: “I deleted it while applying for jobs/school”, “Too much drama,” “I had privacy concerns,” “I kept comparing my life to my Facebook friends’ lives.” I think having these answer choices would’ve provided me with more accurate results.
  • While I enjoyed having a free-response question, it was difficult to quantify the results for this. Instead of answering what they like most and least about Facebook, many people only answered part of the question. Next time, I’d ask it as two separate questions.
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10 thoughts on “The survey results are in: Facebook is still alive…for most!

  1. Hello Lynette. I would guess an older crowd would have increased the number of people using Facebook to share articles. As a matter of fact, I am one of them. I share them since I know that is the social network where have access to the most amount of people. The results about the frequency of checking Facebook were the same as in my survey (interesting, considering most of your respondents were younger). So, most people check Facebook more than once a day.

    22% of respondents have deleted or reactivated the Facebook account. That’s high, I think. However, since the next question included the choice “I’ve never deleted my Facebook account,” the results for the top answer (it takes too much time) were affected. Same thing happened with my survey in one of the questions! Another good response for that question would have been “it affects me emotionally!” I’ve seen so much drama!!

    The ranking results of the social networks were similar to mine. There is no doubt that Facebook is the first, followed by Twitter and Instagram. I think Instagram became popular after Facebook bought it, not sure. Also, even though I like Google+, they have to see how to increase the position in the ranking; how can it be different enough that people would switch.

    About the possible change in the usage of Facebook, the results show loyalty with Facebook, as most use it the same now. Also, like you say, the social network maybe reached its peak, yet the activity remains unchanged.

    • Hi Celeste,

      You make a great point about age having an effect on the number of people who use Facebook primarily to share articles. I hadn’t really thought about that. It’s interesting that even though the 35 and under crowd may not be as active on Facebook as they were in the past, they’re still logging in to check it more than once a day. What they do while they’re on there is a different story. Maybe some are just logging in to “stalk” their friends as opposed to actually using it to post pictures or statuses.

      I agree with you that my question about why people had chosen to deactivate their Facebook account should’ve included something along the lines of “It had too much drama” or “I was too emotionally attached to it.”

      Instagram actually came in second for my survey. Many of my Facebook friends aren’t really active on Twitter, so this may have been the reason for its popularity. As for Google+, most people still don’t know what to do with it, so while they have an account, they’re not active on it.

      Thanks for your comment! I’m glad to see we had similar results.

  2. Hi Lynette,
    When it comes to people’s primary use of Facebook, I figured that most people have it to keep in contact with friends and family, I know that is my main reason for having one. I found it funny when you asked the free response question “What do you like most/least about Facebook?” that one of things that people said was “being able to see what friends and family are up too without having to pick up the phone and call every week.” Its just crazy how social media has taken over that role of picking up a phone and calling a friend or family member and talking to them about their lives. It’s not a bad thing, because that’s just how the world we live in works with the improvement of technology, but that response just made me laugh a little. It’s nice to see that many don’t see Facebook as dead and buried. It has so much to offer that it would be a shame to see people leave it. Great survey, and great results!! ☺

    • Hi Cyndi,

      Thanks for commenting! While the free version of SurveyMonkey made it difficult for me to analyze the free- response results, I’m still glad I had that question because it gave me an insight as to why people like Facebook so much/what they can’t stand about the social network. The answer people gave about Facebook replacing phone conversations with friends and family is so true. I don’t know about you, but I don’t even have phone numbers for all my Facebook friends. Some of them are people I’ve only hung out with a handful of times, so I wouldn’t have a need to pick up the phone to call them. Because of Facebook, we now have the option of whether or not to call someone to wish them a happy birthday or just write on their wall.

      Like you, I’m glad to see Facebook is still alive and kicking! I hope it is able to continue to grow with the times because it would be a shame/shock to see it go.

  3. Hi Lynette,

    I am very surprised the number of people who have deactivated their Facebook account isn’t higher. I actually wanted to select “too much drama” for the account deletion question, so thank you for that edit. I would have been interested to see how many people would answer “I kept comparing my life to my Facebook friends’ lives.” After all, Facebook has been proven to make us feel bad about ourselves (http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/24/why-facebook-makes-you-feel-bad-about-yourself/).

    I also ranked social media sites with my survey and found that Instagram came in second after Facebook. I think it may be because my audience was primarily 18-24, but if you have any theories I’d love to hear them. Great job!

    • Hi Nhi,

      You’re absolutely right! I have a fair amount of friends who have temporarily deactivated their Facebook accounts either because of drama or while they were applying for jobs/school, so I really wish I had thought to add these answers in to my original survey. The link you included in your comment was really interesting. Whether we like to admit it or not, I’m sure we’ve all experienced feelings of jealousy, resentment and loneliness after seeing people post certain things on Facebook. It’s like part of us wants to know what everyone is up to and the other part would just rather not know.

      I think Instagram came in second for me because most of my Facebook friends aren’t really active on Twitter, but besides that, I think people really enjoy the fact that Instagram is an all-photo platform. Even though people do use Twitter to post photos, I feel like you have to sift through a lot of information to find these photos. I also think age played a role in making Instagram No. 2. Parents don’t tend to be on Instagram, simply because they can’t figure it out, but I’ve seen a few of them slowly make their way onto Twitter, which is a more professional/news-based social network. If the average age of my respondents had been higher, I think Twitter would’ve come in second, followed by LinkedIn. Thanks for the comment!

  4. I’ve never deactivated my Facebook account, but that is largely because of work. Even though we only allow our social media team to post to branded Facebook pages through Hootsuite, someone (me) has to have access through Facebook to do things like change photos and update information. Also, as a social media professional, I feel the need to maintain a somewhat active Facebook profile. Even though Facebook may not be attracting teens anymore (and I will say that none of my young nieces and nephews and none of their friends are even remotely interested in joining Facebook), it’s still a social media giant and I think it would not be smart for me to deactivate and pretend the network doesn’t exist. But I don’t enjoy it as much as I did when I was in college — perhaps partially due to all the changes that have been made and partially due to changes in my life.

    • Hi Julie,

      Thank you for your comment! I agree with you. Because we are all studying social media, I think we feel the need to have a presence on the major social media networks because it’s the right thing to do. As journalists, PR professionals and social media marketing professionals, not having an active presence on Facebook just wouldn’t look right. I do find that I’m not posting as much on Facebook as I used to back when I was in college. Although I log on every day, I tend to like what people post more than I post my own content. I actually find that when I do post something, it tends to be on Instagram rather than on Facebook.

  5. Hi Lynette!

    I loved reading your results! I am an avid Facebook user and still love the platform, so I was interested in seeing what other people still thought about it. I had the same issue with amount of responses Survey Monkey actually recorded – I had 114 people take the survey, but could only access 100 of their results. I see the challenge in posting a survey about Facebook on Facebook – clearly you’re using Facebook if you’re accessing the survey! I also posted mine on my Twitter account, LinkedIn account and attempted to post it on my Google+ page hoping to gain more interest. I think my free response questions were more for my entertainment than for adding substantial information to my results – they were so much fun to read but very hard to categorize!

    • Hi Lacee,

      Thank you for your comment! I also still use Facebook frequently, though I have to admit, not as often as I did before I started this program (mainly because I don’t have the time). I’m glad you see my issue with posting a social-media-related survey on Facebook. It probably doesn’t make for the most accurate survey responses, but it definitely helped me receive more participants than I would’ve otherwise. I’m happy to hear you also received a lot of responses on your Disney survey (High five to us and to our loyal friends and family!). And I agree with you about the free-response question. I’m glad I had it, but it made it harder for me to quantify my results.

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