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Agencies, Take Note: Social Media Doesn't Just Mean Facebook Anymore


Online Americans are broadening the number of social media sites they use with 42 percent using two or more sites, according to a Pew Research Center survey released on Monday.

The findings could have implications for federal agencies, which are trying to broaden the ways they use social media to recruit new job applicants, communicate with the public about government programs and benefits and raise awareness of their work.

Facebook remains the leading social networking site with 71 percent of Americans using the site and 63 percent of those Facebook users visiting the site at least once per day.

About 16 percent of online Americans use Twitter, with 46 percent of Twitter users visiting the site once per day, the report found.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the most popular social media sites for federal agencies, with nearly all major federal agencies using all three sites.

The Pew survey did not report on YouTube.

According to the report, 20 percent of online Americans use LinkedIn, 15 percent use Pinterest and 13 percent use Instagram.

LinkedIn is more popular among higher income and better educated Americans, researchers found, while Pinterest is significantly more popular among women than men. Instagram users are nearly as committed to that site as Facebook users, the survey found, with 57 percent visiting the site once per day and 35 percent visiting multiple times each day.

There’s a substantial overlap between Twitter and Instagram users and the sites have broad appeal among young people, urban people and non-whites, the report found.

Federal agencies have moved more slowly into social media sites other than Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, partly because of their specialized audiences. The Justice Department is planning to spend up to $550,000 to recruit top legal talent via LinkedIn, for example, and the Interior Department has a popular Instagram account populated with pictures of national parks and monuments.

During President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama’s staff operated a Pinterest account that included Obama family photos, favorite recipes and scenes from “Around the White House,” such as the Obama family working in the White House’s organic garden.

(Image via Peshkova/

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