Millennials? Nope. It’s Gen X who can’t put their phones down
NY Times – We all know the stereotype: silly millennials, tethered to their phones, unable to accomplish the simplest tasks without scrolling their Instagram feeds, snapping their friends and/or tweeting inanely. But a Nielsen report released last week shows that Americans from 18 to 34 are less obsessed with social media than some of their older peers are.
Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for the younger group. More predictably, adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on the networks: an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week.
Sean Casey, the president of Nielsen’s social division, said the finding initially surprised him because “the going thought is that social is vastly owned by the younger generation. It’s kind of synonymous, when you think of millennials, you think of social. At a time when we wanted to be connected, it came out right when we were at the top of our media consumption,” he said. “It’s become second nature to our generation.”
The finding underscores how ubiquitous the smartphone has become. The report, released on Jan. 17, found that in the United States, 97 percent of people 18 to 34, and 94 percent of people 35 to 49, had access to smartphones. Seventy-seven percent of those 50 and older used smartphones, the report found.
The 29-page report was based on data from 9,000 smartphone users and 1,300 tablet users across the country from July through September. The data was not self-reported. The report also broke out which social networks were most popular on smartphones, finding that Facebook still dominated on mobile, with about 178.2 million unique users in September. It was followed by Instagram, with 91.5 million unique users; Twitter, with 82.2 million unique users; and Pinterest, with 69.6 million users.
Snapchat, a favorite of younger users, was sixth on the list, behind the professional networking site LinkedIn.
Finally, the report looked at second-screen activity on social media, measuring how many times Facebook and Twitter users employed those sites to post about programs they were watching or to interact with others’ posts.
Again, in this category, it was Generation X that could not look away from its devices: On an average day, the report found, 42 percent of those interacting with television on Facebook were from 35 to 49; only 40 percent were millennials.