Social Networking Demographics and Cultural Change

If you are a marketer, researcher, trend watcher, or are just trying to read how North American culture is being shaped, the two summary charts below will intrigue you.  I compiled the information earlier this week, and it clearly shows which age groups and genders are the largest users of Facebook:1

In actual numbers, the top three groups of Facebook users in Canada and the United States are:

  1. Females, aged 20-29  -  10,423,880 users
  2. Males, aged 20-29  -  8,623,960 users
  3. Females, aged 13-19  -  7,205, 840 users

The role of online social networking becomes even more significant when Facebook user statistics are cross-referenced with population statistics.  Based on today’s population estimates, approximately 84% of Canadians aged 20-29 have profiles on Facebook (these kind of statistical observations fascinate me – I have more!).  There is an irrepressible wave of virtually-networked youth and young adults who are shaping and influencing the social culture of both today and tomorrow.

Now, of course, within our larger cultural world, I have a more focused interest.  Specifically, I like to work through questions like these:  Where does Christian spirituality fit within our world culture today?  How do people respond to Christianity?  Why do they respond that way?  How do we communicate the core elements of Christian spirituality in a world that is constantly in a state of flux?  Equally as important, how do (and should) we experience Christianity in today’s culture?  These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.  Not because they are scary questions, but because of the opportunities they represent.2

In my church, academic, and personal roles, I am working through a process of wrestling with the question of “how”.  How can the ancient truths of Christianity regain their relevance in Canadian culture?  How can I best understand and connect with the people around me?  How can I positively influence the next generation of leaders in Christian spirituality?  Statistics and observations are nice, but they are useless unless we act on them.

Yikes, all of that from a simple analysis of Facebook data.  Hmm … do you think I think too much?  [shaking head]  Oh well, it is fun to let my mind wander sometimes (as long as it comes back).  I think the bottom line is this – the world is changing, so let’s figure it out, get involved and make a difference!

What do you think?  What social changes do you see around you?  How have you become more engaged?

Mark

  1. According to Alexa, Facebook is currently the fifth most popular website in the world.
  2. Which is why, after years of mocking my friends, I have recently joined the Facebook community.

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