Social Networking Sites: They Aren’t Just for Kids Anymore!

Eve Padula
Nov 9, 2009

Over the past several years, InfoTrends has been publishing its Online Photo Services surveys on an annual basis. The changes that have occurred in just a few years have been truly staggering. When respondents to our 2006 Online Photo Services survey were asked which online photo service they used most often, Kodak Gallery (25%) and Snapfish (19%) captured the top spots. Fast-forward to 2008, and it becomes clear that traditional online photo services are being strongly affected by popular social networking sites. During InfoTrends’ 2008 Online Photo Services survey, the share of respondents who reported most frequently uploading their photos to Kodak Gallery (7%) and Snapfish by HP (7%) had slipped considerably. The top responses during that year were MySpace (48%) and Facebook (26%).

Our 2009 Online Photo Services study showed yet another shift. Although Facebook was a distant second place in our 2008 study, it surpassed MySpace to capture the top spot in 2009. Meanwhile, many of the traditional online photo services suffered year-over-year declines, which can again be attributed to the strong and growing popularity of social networking sites.

SocialNetworking_Figure

It should be noted that a similar trend emerged for online photo viewing. Over 35% of our 2008 survey participants reported viewing digital photos online via MySpace most often, followed by Facebook (11%). The tables turned in 2009, with Facebook capturing the top spot (36%) and MySpace following behind (26%). Once again, most of the traditional online photo services saw year-over-year declines.

Facebook’s success can be attributed to its broad appeal across more age ranges. As illustrated in the Table below, Facebook and MySpace were both quite popular among respondents under age 35. Notice, however, that the preference for MySpace dwindles much more rapidly among older respondents. There was a time that social networking sites were generally perceived as “kid stuff,” but Facebook has been more successful in shedding this image and its popularity has increased as a result.

SocialNetworking_Table

The preference for social networking sites is clearly no longer limited to younger users. Facebook originated as a site for college students, but its fastest-growing demographic is currently individuals age 35 and older. MySpace was arguably the site that began the social networking craze, but Facebook might well prove to be the site that brings social networking to the masses.

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