Washington, DC–Numbers don’t lie. But they don’t always tell the whole story. At least that’s what the social media world is learning on the heals of a poll gauging American internet users vis-a-vis social networking.
And the results are astounding, or rather confounding to conventional wisdom. That notion holds that Facebook is the most trafficked social site in the United States, with Twitter coming in second and a distant third, Pinterest. Following up the rear are sites like Instagram and Tumblr, which are gaining popularity but still tiny in relative comparison.
In late December of 2012, a study of 1,802 internet users was conducted. What the polling data showed was popular belief and reality are two different things. Of those 1,802 respondents, 67 percent used Facebook–no shock there. But the following conclusions were: Twitter clocked-in 16 percent and Pinterest, usually thought to be a distance third place finisher, garnered 15 percent of the polling. Instagram netted 13 percent and Tumblr, 6 percent, according to the Pew Research Center.
What’s more eye-opening is in the M.O.E. or Margin of Error, which in this particular survey is +/-2.6 percent. That means that Pinterest could statistically beat-out Twitter by as much as 17.6 percent to 13.4 percent. In addition, using that same plus or minus arithmetic, Instagram could be the second place winner.
The same study found that women are five times more likely to use Pinterest over other social sites, while African-Americans prefer Twitter by 26 percent to 14 percent of whites.
Facebook stills faces the challenge of being uncool in the eyes of many and its much-publicized privacy concerns are a huge turnoff, “Many Facebook refusers actually revel in their difference from the mainstream, seeing it as a mark of distinction, superior taste, and identification with an elite social stratum,” said New York University Professor Laura Portwood-Stacer.
Though Twitter is the accepted second place challenger in the social media world, Pinterest is growing exponentially, especially among educated, affluent women.