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Frequent social networkers—people who use social networking sites several times a day—are more likely to follow brands, access their favorite social sites via mobile devices, and consume a wide variety of mobile technologies, according to a survey from Edison Research/Arbitron Internet.

Such frequent users, which number 39 million in 2010 (up from 18 million a year earlier), are also avid consumers of on-demand media, such as timeshifted TV, podcasting, and online video, but they still watch less television than other adults, the study found.

Below, other findings from the 18th Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Research Study.

Frequent social networkers now constitute 30% of all social network users, up from 18% in 2009; they are predominantly female (57%) and much more likely to be young: 66% are age 34 or younger. 

Frequent Social Networkers

Frequent social networkers tend to be more active on social sites and to follow brands and access social sites via mobile devices:

  • 72% say they post online content and status updates when they visit social sites, compared with 55% of all social network users.
  • 25% say they follow brands or companies, compared with 16% of all social network users.
  • 50% say they access social sites/services via mobile phone, compared with 32% of all social network users.

Among frequent social networkers, 87% say they visit Facebook several times a day, 54% visit MySpace, 19% visit Twitter, and 17% visit LinkedIn.

Mobile Devices

Among frequent social networkers 90% say they own a mobile phone and 70% send and receive text messages on their cell phones multiple times daily.

Frequent social networkers are nearly twice as like as all other adults to own an iPod (50% vs. 28%) and have higher adoption levels of other mobile technologies:

The mobile phone, however, has had the "biggest impact" on the lives of frequent social networkers: 67% say so (5 on a scale of 1 to 5), followed by the effect of broadband (63%), the iPhone (60%), the BlackBerry (59%), and social networking sites (36%).

Overall, technology has played a bigger role in the lives of frequent social networkers than on the lives of others—with the exception of TV: Just 34% say TV plays a big role, compared with 34% of all adults age 12+.

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Overall, TV is less important to frequent social networkers than it is to others: 74% say if forced to choose they would eliminate TV rather than eliminate the Internet (26%), whereas among all adults it's a tossup between eliminating TV (49%) and eliminating the Internet (51%).

Frequent social networkers also watch less TV. On average, such users watch 2 hours and 50 minutes of TV daily, compared with 3 hours and 25 minutes a day for all adults.

Not surprisingly, frequent social networkers rely significantly more than all adults on the Internet (3:52 hours vs. 1:56 hours), but they still turn to radio slightly more than all adults, listening on average 2:07 hours a day vs. 2:05 hours for all adults.

Frequent social networkers are more likely to consume media content on demand, including TV, online video, and online radio:

  • DVRs and TiVo: 47% say they own a DVR and 16% own TiVo, compared with all adults (36% and 13%, respectively).
  • Online video: 64% say they have watched a video on YouTube and 46% have watched Hulu, compared with all adults (27% and 15%, respectively).
  • Online radio: 76% say they have listened to streaming radio, compared with 52% of all adults.

Pandora, which integrates with Facebook, is the most popular online audio brand among frequent social networkers: 40% say they listen to it, followed by AOL (10%), (7%), Yahoo (7%), and Slacker (5%).

Other findings:

  • Digital music: 37% of frequent social networkers say their recent music purchases were made digitally, compared with 19% of all adults who say so.
  • Podcasting: 62% of frequent social networkers are familiar with podcasting, compared with 45% of all adults who say the same, and 45% of frequent social networkers say they have consumed either a video or audio podcast, compared with 27% of all adults.

About the data: Findings are based on the 18th Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Research Study, conducted by telephone survey (including 371 mobile phone interviews) among a nationally representative sample of 1,753 Americans age 12+ in February 2010. 

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