The Death of Facebook Has Been Greatly Exaggerated, AKA Please Learn to Read Statistics

In the last few days there’s been a lot of rubbish in the media and on tweets and blogs about the recent Ofcom Communications Market Report, saying that the survey results showed the more young people are “staying away from social media”.

I really wish people would learn to read statistics.

What the research showed was 5% fewer 15-24 year olds claimed to have a social networking profile when compared with the previous survey, but that the proportion of 15-24 year olds from the AB socio-economic group claiming a profile has risen (up from 29% to 35%) while there was a substantial drop among DEs from 32% to 19%.

Further, it notes that both unique visits and time spent online is actually still growing, except for Second Life which has experienced an overall drop in number of hours per month per user. This is not unexpected, as we are comparing the number of hours spent per month on a much larger number of users than had previously been measured. Importantly, the amount of time spent on sites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo is consistent.

So… the only TRUE finding in the research is that there are fewer 15-24 year olds in poor families that are setting up a profile on a social networking site. Among financially secure young people, social networking use is still growing.

Frankly, this is a result which says far more about the digital divide than anything else.

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