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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.