Today, we published an AskVC report on Facebook and Twitter usage in the UK. Rather than focusing on issues such as 'have an account' or 'sometimes used' we focused on activities done in the last 24 hours.
As the table below shows, the propensity of Internet users to have used Facebook and Twitter in the last 24 hours declines as people from older age groups are sampled.
Amongst internet users aged 18 to 24 years 68% of them said they had done something on Facebook in the last 24 hours (e.g. liked something, posted something etc). Amongst internet users aged 65 to 69 years this fell to 26% (which is still a pretty respectable score).
The decline across age groups for both Facebook and Twitter is almost linear. Fitting a regression line to Facebook shows that each move to a group five years older results in a drop of penetration of just over 4.5% points. For Twitter each move to a group five years older results in a drop of penetration of about 3% points. In both cases the r-squared values for the regression are close to 0.97.
So, what does this tell us? Facebook is still well ahead of Twitter in usage and that lead increases (proportionately) as we look at older groups (in the 18-24s Facebook as just over twice the penetration, in the 65 to 69 years old group it has over ten times the penetration). Despite comments that the silver surfers are the fastest growing group they are still less likely to be using social media heavily (using last 24 hours as a proxy for heavily).
But, perhaps the most interesting finding is just how linear the relationship between age and social media is. Of course, we can't infer that as people get older they become less likely to use social media - we will need to wait five years to check that. All we can say is that when we choose a group who are today five years older they are less likely to say they are using Facebook and Twitter.