New survey on Facebook fever: Four out of ten Swedes make use of social networks

Björn Mellstrand
Björn Mellstrand 20 september, 2007
Kategorier:
Blogg

Facebook has been on everyone’s lips in the last few weeks. Many companies and PR analysts have been asking themselves how they might be able to make use of Facebook and other social media. The PR agency JMW therefore conducted a survey, which included finding out who is using social media*, how much time they are spending on these media and what they are using them for.
 
The survey shows that more than four out of ten Swedes make use of social networks. The highest usage levels are in the younger age groups. More than eight out of ten 15-22 year-olds use a social network. Every third 15-22 year-old states that they have their own blog.

Eight out of ten of those who use social networks also state that they were members of a social network before 2005. Of the websites that they registered with during 2007, Facebook leads the way, especially among 23-35 year-olds, where around half have joined up recently.

Men use social networks more than women do: almost half of all men who took part in the survey, compared with four out of ten women. Men make more use of social networks than women do to date, with every fifth man doing this as opposed to one out of ten women. On the other hand, more women than men have their own blogs.

The most popular social media are above all MSN, which still leads the way (72 per cent). But Facebook is already in second place among Swedes (36 per cent), ahead of Lunarstorm*2 (32 per cent) and, for example, MySpace (21 per cent). Facebook also has more users among those living in large cities compared with the rest of Sweden.

“The survey shows that Facebook has a pedagogic role to play. Facebook has made above all new, older target groups interested in social media. Young people already have plenty of experience of using social media, and they see totally different benefits than older people do. For young people, the greatest value lies in keeping in contact and planning activities with their friends. Older people use social media to a greater extent to monitor the world around them and for skills development,” says Björn Mellstrand, Managing Director of the PR agency JMW.

One quarter of respondents spend less than one hour a day on social media. In the age group 23-35 there are five per cent who spend almost five hours a day. On average, women spend more time than men.

“As consultants we will be able to highlight both threats and opportunities using the common point of reference that Facebook has given us. Questions of integrity and the spreading of negative rumours are examples of threats that we must make companies aware of. The opportunities of course means that those who dare to think along new lines can reach large groups of people, whether it be for recruitment, product launches or to promote a particular issue. Social media reach out into the informal dialogue, and this is a challenge for every PR analyst,” continues Björn Mellstrand.

*Social media comprise digital methods of communication that exist for the purpose of sharing experiences, opinions and content. Tools for this can be the phone, the Internet or TV, and involve communication methods such as the following: chat, text messages, blogs, communities, social networks, uploading and sharing of images, music and videos, email, online gaming, virtual realities such as Second Life and wikis.
*2 Lunarstorm is a local community in Sweden.

Facts from the survey in bullet point form:

  • More than four out of ten Swedes make use of social networks. The highest usage levels are in the younger age groups. More than eight out of then 15-22 year-olds use a social network.
  • Men use social networks more than women do. Almost half of all men questioned do this, compared with four out of ten women. 
  • The most popular social media used are above all MSN, which still leads the way (72 per cent).
    Facebook is already in second place among Swedes (36 per cent), ahead of Lunarstorm (32 per cent) and, for example, MySpace (21 per cent). 
  • More than half of those living in large cities use Facebook, while one out of four do so in the rest of Sweden. On the other hand, Lunarstorm and MSN are more popular in the rest of Sweden than in large cities. 
  • Among younger people, aged 15-22, MSN is still the most widely used network, with almost nine out of ten in this age group using it. 
  • One quarter of respondents spend less than one hour a day on social media. In the age group 23-35 there are five per cent who spend almost five hours a day. On average, women spend more time than men. 
  •  Around eight out of ten respondents were members of a social network before 2005, especially in the younger 15-22 age group, where almost all were members. Every fifth person aged 36-50 was a member in 2006. Of the sites they joined up to in 2007, Facebook leads the way, especially among those aged 23-35, where around half have joined up recently. More residents of large cities than the rest of Sweden have signed up to Facebook recently. 
  • Younger people use the network to keep in contact with their friends, with almost eight out of ten doing this. Older people use social media to a greater extent to monitor the world around them and for skills development. 
  • 45 per cent of younger people (aged 15-22) like to use social networks to plan activities with their friends; the corresponding figure for those aged 36-50 is 13 per cent. 
  • Men make more use of social networks than women do to date, with every fifth man doing this as opposed to one out of ten women. 
  • Almost every fifth man uses the network to keep track of his colleagues, compared with one out of ten women. 
  • However, almost half of all people who use social networks do so to find new friends, regardless of age. 
  • Almost every seventh person questioned believes that networks provide information about new trends and new products. 
  • Almost all respondents answered “Yes” when asked if they would be upset if anyone claimed to be them on the Internet. 
  • Men think that it is more important to market themselves on the Internet than women: 20 per cent compared with 13 per cent. This is truer among the 15-22 age group than the rest, with almost every third person believing this.
  • Respondents spend more time in social networks than reading blogs. Almost seven our of ten respondents spend less than one hour a week reading blogs. Almost every fifth Swede spends an average of less than 30 minutes a day reading blogs.
  • Almost fifteen per cent of respondents have their own blog. This is more common among younger people, where every third person in the age group 15-22 has their own blog.

Background: The market research company CINT conducted a survey into how Swedes use social media on behalf of the PR agency JMW. The survey, which was conducted during late August/early September 2007, involved 1,325 people in the age range 15-65.