Social Networking Research in UK

Two weeks ago, the Office of Communications in the U.K. published an 80-page report, Social Networking: A quantitative and qualitative research report into attitudes, behaviours and use. The report draws on numerous qualitative and quantitative research studies conducted in UK in 2007. Here are some interesting findings from the report:

  • Social networking sites are most popular with teenagers and young adults.
  • Despite the fact that the minimum age for most major social networking sites is usually 13 (14 on MySpace), 27% of 8-11 year olds who are aware of social networking sites say that they have a profile on a site.
  • The average adult social networker has profiles on 1.6 sites, and most users check their profile at least every other day.
  • 25% of registered social networking users had posted sensitive personal data about themselves on their profiles (phone numbers, home addresses, etc.).
  • The majority of adults who had used a social networking site had a profile on Facebook (62%) and this was the most mentioned main social networking site (49%). Nearly half of all respondents reported having a profile on MySpace and one-third had one on Bebo.
  • Two-thirds of parents claim to set rules about their child’s use of social networking sites, although only 53% of children said that their parents set such rules.
  • Social networkers fall into five distinct groups based on their behaviors and attitudes: 1) Alpha Socialisers, 2) Attention Seekers, 3) Followers, 4) Faithfuls, and 5) Functionals.
  • Non-users of social networking sites fall into three distinct groups: 1) Concerned about safety, 2) Technically inexperienced, and 3) Intellectual rejecters.
  • Social network users create well-developed profiles as the basis of their online presence. They share personal information with a wide range of “friends.”
  • Only a few users highlighted negative aspects of social networking.
  • Concerns about privacy and safety are not “top of mind” for most users.
  • 41% of children aged 8-17 and 44% of adults leave their privacy settings as default ‘open’ which means that their profiles are visible to anyone.
  • 34% of 16-24 year olds are willing to give out sensitive personal information such as their phone number or email address.
  • 17% of adults used their profile to communicate with people they do not know. This increases among younger adults. 35% of adults spoke to people who were ‘friends of friends’.
  • Facebook is the most popular site with adults followed by MySpace and then Bebo. For children aged between 8 and 17, Bebo was the most used social networking site.
  • A minority of younger women reported creating fake profiles for fun.
  • Some teenagers and adults in their early twenties reported feeling ‘addicted’ to social networking sites and were aware that their use was squeezing their study time.
  • A minority of people reported being aware of bullying through social networking sites and some younger users admitted using social networking sites to ‘get back’ at people they had fallen out with.

Robin Blake introduces Ofcom’s research on Social Networking


About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Web 2.0 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Social Networking Research in UK

  1. Lou Ellen says:

    When I began searching on VoiceThread, I could not stop. I was so amazed by the entire process. I loved seeing what others had experienced, or what they saw. Immidiately many thoughts began to pop up in my head on what I could do with this sight. There are so many things that VoiceThread can be used for. Education would become fun for our kids and youth. They could use this for their own responses, but also leave it open to interact with others around the world. Hearing others thoughts and ideas can open up their eyes and minds. What a great experience! Teachers can put up lectures in VoiceThread. The marker that you can use is very helpful for both the teacher and the others that respond. Art classes could use this to explore certain works and their meaning. Learning would have been a lot more fun had I had something like VoiceThread to use and explore for subjects like history, literature, and even science. Even as an adult continuing my education, I know that I will begin to use this tool for learning.

    What a great way to tell and preserve family stories. A VoiceThread of your mom and dad’s photographs with their voices and their stories behind them would be priceless to you and the future generations. It would also be a fun way to share photos and stories with your family and friends either by posting it on a blog or sending it to them.

  2. uknetweb says:

    Thank you for a set of interesting statistics relating to social networking in the UK. I found your research most useful.

    Regards, Aren

  3. Tim Bryant says:

    Great information on social networking, it’s just really scary to parents. I know how it works, I know that it’s reasonably safe, but I watch what I allow my daughter to put up. She has a facebook, but MySpace is off limits. Even Facebook can be very risque in places.

    There are lots of tools, but I doubt most parents know about them. The recent beating of the girl over something she posted on MySpace is definitely one of my biggest concerns.

  4. Andrea Howard says:

    This is very, very interesting information regarding social networking. Upon reading all of the statistics, I realized how much relates to people I know, and some including myself. Social networks have wonderful qualities that allow people to remain in constant contact with friends and family as well as meet new people without the cost of making a long distance phone call. The best part is that you can communicate with people across the world in real time. If used appropriately, they can be fun and an important part of people’s social lives. Many people who are not familiar with them believe that being a member of social networks are not for adults. The truth of the matter is that they exist for any individuals who have similar interests. There are security settings on these sites that allow you to restrict individuals from viewing your pages should you choose to do so. So, if you not interested in the juvenile aspect of these social networking sites, you have full control over all of that.

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