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The proportion of American adult Internet users who upload or post videos online has more than doubled in four years, from 14% in 2009 to 31% today, according to a recent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Pew found that 27% of adult Internet users have uploaded a video so others can watch or download it, and 18% have posted a video that they themselves created.

Younger adult Internet users are twice as likely to post and share videos online compared with their older counterparts. Fully 41% of 18-29 year-old American Internet users and 36% of 30-49 year-old Internet users post or share videos online, compared with 18% of internet users age 50 and older.

Online adults living in higher-income households (annual income of $75,000 or more) are also particularly likely to post or share videos online compared with those in households with annual incomes below $50,000.

Below, additional key findings from the report.

What They Post

Among the 18% of adult Internet users who post their own videos online...

  • More than half post videos of family and friends doing everyday things (58%), themselves or others doing funny things (56%), or events they attend (54%).
  • In contrast, just 23% post videos they have intentionally staged, scripted, or choreographed, and just 30% post educational or tutorial videos they have made.

Viral Dreams 

  • Among all adults who post and share online videos—either self-created or created by others—35% say they have posted a video online with the hope of its being widely viewed or "going viral." That equates to 11% of all adult Internet users.
  • The desire to have a video "go viral" is particularly strong with younger adults. Among adults who post videos online, 39% of those under age 50 have posted a video hoping it will attract a large audience, compared with just 19% of video posters age 50 and older.
  • Just 5% of adults who post videos online say they regret something they have posted.

Mobile Impact

  • Pew found that the growing online video culture is, in part, a byproduct of the dramatic increase in cell phone and smartphone ownership among US adults over the past decade.
  • As of May 2013, 91% of US adults owned a cell phone of some kind, including 56% who owned a smartphone.
  • 41% of these adult cell phone owners say they use their phones to watch video and another 40% say they use these devices to record video.
  • 20% of adult cell phone users use their phones to post videos online.

About the research: The report was based on data from a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,003 adults conducted between July 25 and July 28, 2013.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji