Are Facebook and Google Elitist?

I was pretty shocked by some recent research from the Gallup organization that show a pretty dramatic difference in Google and Facebook usage among Americans with more than $90,000 in annual income and those with less than $90,000 in annual income.

Here are the specific statistics:

  • Among those with more than $90,000 in annual income: 85% use Google in a typical week and 55% have a Facebook page
  • Among those with less than $90,000 in annual income: 56% use Google in a typical week, while 41% have a Facebook page

You could read lots of different things into these findings, including the notion that those with less than $90,000 don't have the same sort of access, or that they use different options to these search and social networks, or that they just have better things to do. But I was surprised by the idea that income might be a factor as to who plays in your social networks. I always just figured it was who you know.

THEN I got to thinking about it a little more deeply: Facebook DID after all, start as a social network for those in university, so it figures that more educated Americans would be more likely to use it. In fact, 85% of Americans with a college degree said they use Google once a week, while 58% have a Facebook page. If you look at the responses for those with high-school or less in learning, the numbers drop to 35% and 28%, respectively.

The data is based on telephone interviews conducted by Gallup in January 2011. There were close to 1,500 U.S. adults surveyed.

So, how about it: Is Facebook elitist? I believe we'll know the answer better when all the teenagers using the site today (who were NOT included in this survey) start graduating college or entering the workforce or both. If the number of “friends” that some of these teenagers have is any indicator (one of my friend's daughters had close to 1,900 when I checked this morning), I think the numbers will shift dramatically.

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