The Swedes and the internet 2014

An annual study of the Swedish people's internet habits

3. Communication and social network

The time spent on social networks in 2014 has increased in all age groups. The result is that with all internet users, the increase amounts to half an hour a week. This year’s rocket is Instagram, which has increased from 15 percent in 2013 to 28 percent in 2014. One in five use Twitter, but Facebook is still by far the most popular, and is now used by 68 percent of Swedes.

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Diagram 3.1. Number of internet users (12+ years) who sometimes or daily communicate via the internet. Show as table Download

The ability to send

information via e-mail was from the beginning a basic function that made people connect to the internet. It is still the most used function. Two out of three (62%) do it daily. Even school children, which have access to a variety of communication tools, use e-mail. This use has increased during the last year (see Chapter 7 about children and youth). Almost as common as e-mail is sending short text messages via the mobile phone.

Diagram 3.2. Number of internet users (12+ years) who sometimes or daily visit different networks. Show as table Download

In a five-year perspective, many more today send mms, use the internet for telephone conversations, and above all visit and are active on social networks. The use of blogs and micro blogs (Twitter) has not changed very much during the past year but new social networks have spread out to many more.

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Diagram 3.3. Number of internet users (12+ years) who produce their own content on the internet. Show as table Download

One in three or fewer are active on social networks

On social networks such as Facebook, it is over a longer period almost as many who write and make updates as those who browse. Most are therefore active at some time. But in a daily perspective, there are three times as many visitors as people who write daily. Most are thus more active reading what others write than writing themselves.

Diagram 3.4. Number of internet users (12+ years) who sometimes or daily write or take part in what others have written and number who produce their own content on the internet. Show as table Download

For Twitter, there are twice as many who sometimes read as those who write, and in a daily perspective, it is eight times more likely that people will read rather than write about themselves daily.

For blogs, there are five times as many who sometimes read rather than write, and in the daily perspective there are ten times more who read daily rather than write.

 

 

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Age has meaning

The younger one is, the more active one is at communicating and visiting social networks.

12–15 years.

The youngest are more active than others when it comes to:

Instagram, chat, video chatting.

12–25 years.

The young and older youth are more active when it comes to:
Reading and writing on micro blogs, such as Twitter, telephone calls on the internet, visiting social networks, creating their own content, and writing comments in different forums.

 

16–25 years.

Older youth are most active when it comes to:

Instant messaging, visiting Facebook, posting updates on social networks, sharing and forwarding.

 

Equally active up to 45 years.

Posting updates, visiting Facebook, video chatting, telephone calls, and reading blogs.

Equally active up to 55 years.

Commenting on different discussion forums. Sharing and forwarding.

Equally active in all ages.

E-mail.

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Diagram 3.5. Number of internet users (12+ years) who sometimes visit social networks. Show as table Download

Social networks grow

The social networks’ popularity rose with more than ten percent from 2005 to 2010. After that, the spreading curve flattened out. Between 2011 and 2013, the annual growth rate was down two percentage points. One might expect the trend to continue, but instead the use during the last year went up by three percentage points and now stands at 72 percent. The proportion that are members of a social network, is thus still increasing. Primarily among the elderly, ages 46-75 years, although the time spent on social networks has increased in all age groups. Looking at all internet users, the increase amounts to about half an hour a week.

Diagram 3.6. Number of hours in the week that internet users spend on social networks. Show as table Download

7 out of 10 internet users today visit some sort of social network and for the entire population (12+ years) this corresponds to 64 percent. This means that at the same time, a third of the population never visit a social network.
Facebook is still the most popular, especially among the young. In the ages of 16-25, 95 percent visit Facebook sometimes and eight out of ten (81%) visit it daily, while a third (36%) visit several times a day. But if we look at how Facebook has spread, there is still a majority of those who are older than 55 who never visit Facebook. And among the youngest pensioners, one out of four (38%) sometimes visit and very few over 75 years old. The daily visitors are even fewer. This does not mean that there are not pensioners visiting Facebook, but in relation to the whole age group, there are few.

 

Diagram 3.7. Number of internet users in different ages who in 2014 visited Facebook. Show as table Download

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Diagram 3.8. Number of internet users who say they have at some time visited social networks or Facebook 2014. Show as table Download

Facebook continues to dominate

Almost everyone who is a member on a social network is also a member of Facebook.

But there is an exception in the ages of 12-15. Here, there have been many alternatives in the last few years. While the development for all other groups, except the oldest, have had rising numbers of Facebook members during 2012-2014, the membership in the ages of 12-15 has decreased. See more on this in Chapter 7 about children and youth.

Diagram 3.9. Number of internet users (12+ years) i different ages who visited Facebook sometime during 2012, 2013 and 2014. Show as table Download

In relation to other social networks, Facebook is still dominating despite many newly launched social networks. One of them is Instagram.

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Diagram 3.12. Number of internet users who sometimes or daily visit Instagram. Show as table Download

Instagram – The young women’s network

A complement to Facebook is Instagram, also owned by Facebook. The users are mostly the young, especially young women.

Diagram 3.11 Number of internet users who sometimes visit Instagram according to gender and age. Show as table Download

In the ages of 12-15, 62 percent of young women use Instagram daily, compared to 45 percent of young men. The young women’s interest in Instagram continues up in age. These social networks complement each other and there are few (4%) who give up Facebook for Instagram.

Diagram 3.13. Number of internet users in the ages of 12-15 who visit Instagram and Facebook. Show as table Download

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Diagram 3.10. Number of internet users who sometimes or daily visit Twitter. Show as table Download

One in five use Twitter

The users of Twitter have not increased very much. 19 percent answer that they visit Twitter sometimes and 6 percent visit daily. The usage has, more or less, stood still since 2013 when 17 percent visited sometimes and 6 percent daily. There are more men (21%) than women (17%) who use Twitter. Of those who use Twitter, there are twice as many that read compared to those who write.

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Does gender, age and education play any part when it comes to participating in social networks?

Women are more active than men at communicating over the internet and visiting social networks. This is especially true for daily use. The difference is extra large when it comes to daily visits on Instagram (22% vs. 12%), Facebook (53% vs. 41%), blogs (13% vs. 5%), SMS (60% vs. 50%) and daily visits to social networks with the mobile phone (65% vs. 48%). It is also more common that women publish their location (21% vs. 13% at least once a week). But there are no great differences between men and women in how often they use e-mail, Twitter, Instant messaging, visit chat rooms or send an mms.

As previously stated, there are significant differences between different age groups in how active one is to communicate and participate in social networks. The young are more active. In some cases, as with Instagram and chat, the youngest (12–15) are the most active, and in some other cases, it is the older youth (16-25) which are the most active using Instant messaging, Facebook, updates, sharing and forwarding. The exception is e-mail, which everyone uses regardless of age.

What about education? In a later chapter, we will see how educational background plays a large role in the way one uses the internet for information and facts. For such content, those with higher education are most active with their use. When it comes to communication and social networking, the situation is different. Here, the difference is consistently small between people with higher and lower degrees of education. This applies to the use of Instagram and participation on social networks such as, for example, Facebook, and micro blogs like Twitter.

A closer study shows that there are some differences when one looks at each age group separately. It is among the elderly, especially among pensioners, that education plays a role. The highly educated elderly are more active when it comes to, for example, sms, mms, Facebook, posting messages and comments, posting their own content, Instant messaging, sharing and forwarding, and more.

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