Pew: Social networking is 'global phenomenon'

Monday - 12/20/2010, 4:57pm EST

Richard Wike, Associate Director, Pew Global Attitudes Project

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The Pew Research Center survey of 22 countries found that social network use is prevalent around the world.

"It's pretty striking, especially given the fact that this is a pretty young technology," said Richard Wike, associate director at the Pew Global Attitudes Project, in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

The United States led the other countries in social network use, followed by Poland, Britain and South Korea. In the U.S., 46 percent of those surveyed use social networks, 36 percent do not and 18 percent do not have access to Internet.

Although wealthy countries tend to have more people who have access to Internet and use social networks, the survey found that people in middle- and low-income countries also use social networks, Wike said.

In countries like Kenya and Nigeria, Internet use is not high, but the people who go online are also social networking, Wike said, calling it a "global phenomenon."

The survey found an age gap between those who did and did not use social networks. However, there was no pattern of a gender gap, Wike said.

The survey also found cell phone use has grown considerably. In Russia, 8 percent of people had cell phones in 2002. Today, it's 82 percent.

"We see similar increases like that in regions across the world," Wike said.

The increases in cell phones and social network use were not surprising, Wike said. But he added, "To the extent that these numbers jumped up is really impressive."