Social media use may have peaked: study

Plus, while Facebook remains the most popular social network, its users tend to spend less time online than users of sites like Reddit.

Despite the prevalence of social media, this year’s Media Technology¬† Monitor (MTM) survey found that social networking growth may be at a standstill.

The report looked at data gathered from more than 6,000 Canadians via telephone interviews conducted between March and May of this year.

For the first time in more than a decade, the penetration rate of social media among Anglophones has remained unchanged from the previous year (75% from 2014 to 2015). That adds to the stat that since 2009, the penetration rate of social media has grown by only small increments (5% or less) every year.

Facebook remains king in its popularity — it’s used by 92% of social networkers, with LinkedIn at second place with 33%. Pinterest came in third at 27% while Twitter and Instagram pulled in 26% of social networkers each.

While 27% of users are active on one network, 70% use two or more, and 26% report being on at least three social networks.

Social media users love spending time online — while the average internet user spends 23.1 hours per week online, that number goes up to 26.1 for social media users.

A user’s social network of choice also says a lot about how much time they spend online. The average Anglophone Facebook user spends 25.5 hours per week on the internet, but users of Tumblr and Reddit are logging an average of 36.5 and 37.2 hours per week respectively online.

One of the most significant changes observed was the use of mobile devices for social networking, growing from 60% to 68% from last year. The biggest driver? Newer, mobile-first networks, including Instagram and Snapchat.

Last year, Snapchat’s total penetration of Anglophone users was 9%, with a 41% penetration rate among students and a 41% penetration rate among 18 to 25-year-olds. It’s since grown in all those areas, with a reported 11% penetration among all users, 47% among students and 48% among 18 to 25-year-olds.

In a trend similar to that observed through the MTM’s recent study on news consumption, Canadians are also increasingly looking to social networks as a news source. Of all social media users, 49% reported using Facebook as a news source in the past month, while 48% said the same about Twitter.

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