Active authors on social media: a study by age group

    Studies of public opinion in social media have the right to life only when they analyze not only message texts, but also the socio-demographic characteristics of their authors. It would be wrong to take into account the statements of Petersburgers when researching the problems of Chukotka residents, you cannot take into account the opinions of users over 45 for insights on a youth product or the opinions of users under 18 to predict election results. We have already published information on the distribution of active authors in the regions of Russia, and today we will share our new data: under the cut are the first results of a study on the age of active authors of social media.


    The advantages of social media research are obvious - no other method allows you to receive and process a volume of hundreds of thousands of messages in real time. In addition, reports in social media are practically the only source of information that allows you to get undistorted opinions of the population on taboo topics and avoid the influence of the wording of the question, the personality of the interviewer and other factors. It would seem - here it is, a new sociology. But not everything is as simple as it seems at first glance.
    To get high-quality results, you will first have to try to build a sample that must correspond to the structure of the gene. aggregate (target audience). The formation of such samples is possible only if there is data on the authors of messages in social media.
    On the one hand, data on visitors and registered users of social media is available. But, on the other hand, these data cannot be extrapolated to active authors. For example, in the social network VKontakte, only 11% of visitors are active authors, and for blogs the proportion of active authors rarely exceeds 1%. That is why, obtaining data on the geographic location and age of social media authors is one of the most important tasks of operational sociology.

    ... and the decision

    After analyzing several different ways of obtaining information about the age of the authors, we decided that in this case the most direct way is the surest one. Therefore, the analysis does not use information from message texts and related profiles, but only those data that the user himself indicates in the account are taken into account.
    The analysis can be carried out on the entire stream of data that we receive from social media. Thanks to this, we can introduce you to the age groups of users of such social networks as VKontakte, Facebook, LiveJournal and LiveInternet. Unfortunately, the age of authors is not available on the micro-blogging service Twitter.
    Given the size of the sample and the timing of the study, the results below are relevant and relevant, despite factors such as the absence or provision of knowingly false age data in the profiles of some authors.
    Thus, we examined the age data of social media authors from their profiles and compiled statistics on age groups.

    Social Media Age Data

    The study was conducted from September 1 to September 30, 2013. The sample amounted to 300 thousand blog authors and 1 million authors of social networks VKontakte and Facebook. Only active authors (i.e., those who published at least one public message during the period of the study) from Russia were studied.

    In contact with

    Age data are present in profiles of 32.66% of active authors.

    As it turned out, this is the youngest social network of all that fell into the study: 68% of VKontakte authors are younger than 24 years old. Moreover, authors over 35 years old - only 8%.


    Age data is present in profiles of 6.18% of active authors.

    It is worth noting that according to the rules of Facebook, the user himself does not have the right to make public profile data (including age) if he is under 18 years old. Therefore, authors under 18 years old on Facebook - 0%.
    Authors from 18 to 24 years old - 48% . It can be assumed that authors under the age of 18 distort their age for the full use of the network, and also fall into this age group (18-24 years) in the analysis. 33% of Facebook authors are older than 35 years, and 29% fall into the age group of 25 to 34 years. Thus, the contingent of Facebook is generally older than on the social network VKontakte.

    Looking a little ahead, we note that the authors on social networks in general are younger than on blogs. Most likely, this is due to the age of the social media itself - Vkontakte and Facebook appeared just at the time of growing up of authors, who are now less than 25 years old and have become mainstream for them. In addition, the format itself implies some stratification by age group - the generation of “digital native”, as you know, is not inclined not only to writing, but also to reading voluminous texts, which the format of the blogosphere implies.


    Age data is present in profiles of 24.4% of active authors.

    Blog users are expected to be older than social media users. Authors under 24 years old - only 9%. The main core of LiveJournal authors is users aged 25 to 34 years - 53% . Another 27% of the authors fall into the category 35-44, and 11% are over 45 years old .


    Age data is present in the profiles of 67.26% of active authors.

    At the same time, LiveInternet is the only network we have analyzed in which the majority of authors are the older generation: 38% are over 45 years old.
    Around the same number of authors (22 and 25%) are people aged 35 to 44, and 25 to 34 years old, respectively. Users under 24 years old - only 15%.

    Bloggers are Runet dinosaurs, the most adult part of the population of domestic social media. Most active blog authors are over 25 years old. Actually, these are those who grew and socialized at a time when social media did not exist. Former fidoshniki, they easily perceive the format of blogs and forums, and much worse - the bird language of social networks. The younger generation, which is prone to publishing short messages and prioritizing the speed of data exchange, does not favor blogs.

    In our next study, we plan to combine data on the age and geographical location of active authors, and analyze the activity of different age groups of users by region of Russia.
    If you have interesting ideas for research, we will be happy to discuss and implement them, as far as possible;)

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