With the increased use of social media in today’s society, I thought it relevant to examine a data set that pertains to that topic specifically. According to the Pew Research Center, around seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves. With all of the uses that social media has for the public, it is easy to grasp why it has become increasingly popular over the years.
One can see by the graph that there is a significant upward trend between the growing years and social media use that corresponds. The Pew Research Center started watching the United States adoption of social media in 2005, when there were only a mere 5% that visited at least one site. This increased to half of all Americans in 2011 and eventually has led to the 69% seen today with public use. With the creation of new technology that makes social media accessible at the touch of a button, it is no wonder the percentage of users has increased significantly. With a total increase of 64% in 11 years, this definitely should not be ignored because there is no doubt the percentage has increased since the last study was conducted in November of 2016, nearly a year ago.
I chose this style of graph, a line plot, to display the data I found because I thought it was the best way to see the upward trend between years and social media use. One can easily see the positive correlation between the two, and how much use has increased within the 11-year period of observation. Some years have multiple dots that overlap on the graph; these represent more than one study conducted within the same year. With this kind of data, it is important to see the trend and visual relationship between the two variables. This would not have been successfully shown with a bar graph or pie chart.
Continuing with the topic of social media, I went a step further and looked into the data containing the use of social media, within the same timeline as the previous chart, between males and females. Because the use of sites has increased repeatedly within the last 11 years, I wanted to see which gender corresponded with the trend. In my mind, females spend more time on social media sites than males because they have more insecurities, thus causing them to seek validation by posting or speaking to others online. These are things that has been psychologically proven for women and the research seems capable of upholding my hypothesis.
According to the Pew Research Center, with more Americans adopting social media, the user base has grown more representative of the broader population. Researchers started looking into what percent of US adults use at least one social media site, by gender. By observing the graph, it is seen that my prediction was correct. Females, in todays time, use at least one social media site more than men at 77% compared to 66%, in 2016. By observing the graph, one can see that men started, in 2005, with more social media presence but it eventually switched over in 2008 to females taking the lead. The data continues throughout the years and not only shows an upward trend of increased use of social media, but also a consistently larger percentage of female use as well.
I chose this double bar graph because one can easily see not only the positive correlation between social media use and time increase, but the difference between male and female use also. With the magenta representing the male percentage and the pink showing the female percentage, it is shown that the female numbers started to exceed the male numbers around 2008 and continued that way into the present years. The bar graph does a successful job of showing the data in a way that one can easily understand, versus a pie chart or line graph.
Social Media Fact Sheet. (2017). Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. Retrieved 9 October 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/