Pew Research Releases First-Ever Stats on Social Curation and Creation on Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr

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Facebook and Twitter might be the most popular social networks, but there are other places to create and curate content, Pew Research has learned. Users are increasingly turning to Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr for photos and videos.

In a study entitled, “Photos and Videos as Social Currency Online,” researchers Lee Rainie, Joanna Brenner, Kristen Purcell asked 1,005 adults 18 and older, including 405 cell phones interviews, about where they go to upload and share images and videos.

Most Popular Networks

The stats revealed that although Facebook is still the number one site among adults, Pinterest and Instagram are closing in on Twitter:

  • 66% – Facebook
  • 20% – LinkedIn
  • 16% – Twitter
  • 12% – Pinterest
  • 12% – Instagram
  • 5% – Tumblr

This is an interesting find considering that photography on Twitter is also on the rise —  another report showed that 36 percent of tweets are photos. Each of the other two networks has something unique to offer visitors: Pinterest is an inspiration board for curating photos on the web; Instagram is a photo-enhancement app that was recently sold to Facebook. Users can, in fact, repost their pictures from Instagram and Pinterest on Twitter and Facebook, but not the reverse.


As usual, young adults were the most prolific users of all of these sites, except for LinkedIn, which saw an increase in professionals in their 30′s, 40′s, and 50′s. Pinterest was most popular among women, accounting for 19 percent of the group and confirming numerous other reports on the subject. Researchers confessed that they had no previous data on Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr for comparison, as they had never used these networks in a survey before.

Creation vs. Curation

Beyond demographics, Pew’s study showed a shift in the way people use social media. Posting original photos and videos online ranked slightly ahead of sharing content from other people, with 46 percent of respondents who said they had created content and 41 percent who said they had curated it.

Tumblr VP of product Derek Gottfrid recently found that 80 percent of mobile users were reblogging content rather than uploading images. Pinterest’s latest redesign encourages users to take pictures with their phones, but there are no stats yet on whether or not they have taken the hint.

Image by MR.LIGHTMAN via Shutterstock.

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