Survey Says Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals Lead in Usage of Online Social Networks

According to a recent national survey conducted by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications, more online gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) individuals use social networks Friendster and MySpace per week compared to online heterosexuals. Other well-known websites such as YouTube, Craigslist and personal web logs also were found to be more popular among GLB individuals.

Here’s more from a recent press release distributed by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications:

These are some of the highlights of a nationwide online survey of 2,541 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over) conducted between November 13 and 20, 2006, by Harris Interactive(R), a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the GLBT market. The results reported in this release refer to U.S. adults who are online.

Twenty-seven percent of GLB individuals reported they visit the popular free video sharing website, youtube.com, at least one hour or less per week, compared with 22 percent of all heterosexuals. GLB individuals were also slightly more likely to visit Craigslist.com (20%), a centralized network of online urban communities, featuring free classified advertisements and forums, one hour or less per week (while 13% of heterosexuals say they visit Craigslist).

Even more significant is that gays and lesbians are online much more than their heterosexual counterparts. Excluding email, nearly twice as many gays and lesbians (32%) say they are online between 24 and 168 hours per week, compared to 18 percent of heterosexuals.

Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, said, “We have consistently benchmarked strong online usage by the gay community. Gays and lesbians have shown their need to build and maintain an early and major presence on the web that translates directly into significant market opportunities. Social networks also appear to be second nature for the gay and lesbian consumer.”

Regarding web logs or blog use, the survey found about one in four GLB individuals (24%) report visiting personal blogs, which are websites that serve as an individual’s personal online journal, compared to 12 percent of heterosexuals. In fact, over one in three GLB adults (36%) visit their favorite blogs everyday, while only 19 percent of heterosexuals say they visit their favorite blogs daily. GLB respondents also reported having a more positive reaction towards advertising found on blogs, by two to one when compared to heterosexuals (22% vs. 9%).

TABLE 1
VISIT SOCIAL NETWORKS
“On average, how much time per week do you spend on any of these sites?”
Summary of those who visit at all per week

Base: All U.S. adults

Total GLB Heterosexual
% % %
Friendster 5 11 4
MySpace 27 33 28
Facebook 11 11 11

Note: Total includes all heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents. Total also includes an over-sample of gay/lesbian respondents.

TABLE 2
VISIT YOUTUBE.COM
“On average, how much time per week do you spend on any of these sites?”

Base: All U.S. adults

Total GLB Heterosexual
% % %
1 hour or less 22 27 22
2 – 4 hours 4 9 4
5 – 7 hours 1 0 1
8 – 10 hours * 2 *
More than 10 hours * * *
Do not go to this site 69 60 71
Not sure 3 2 2

Note: “*” indicates less than 0.5%., “-” indicates no response.
Note: Percentages may not add exactly to 100% due to rounding.

Note: Total includes all heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents. Total also include an over-sample of gay/lesbian respondents.

TABLE 3
VISIT CRAIGSLIST.COM
“On average, how much time per week do you spend on any of these sites?”

Base: All U.S. adults

Total GLB Heterosexual
% % %
1 hour or less 14 20 13
2 – 4 hours 4 10 3
5 – 7 hours 1 1 1
8 – 10 hours * * *
More than 10 hours * 1 *
Do not go to this site 78 65 79
Not sure 3 3 3

Note: “*” indicates less than 0.5%., “-” indicates no response.
Note: Percentages may not add exactly to 100% due to rounding.

Note: Total includes all heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents. Total also include an over-sample of gay/lesbian respondents.

TABLE 4
TIME SPENT ONLINE, EXCLUDING EMAIL
“Excluding email, how many hours per week do you spend on the Internet or
World Wide Web?”

Base: All U.S. adults

Total Gay/Lesbian Heterosexual
% % %
Light Users (Net) 9 6 10
0 hours 1 3 *
1-2 hours 9 4 9
Medium Users (Net) 30 19 31
3-5 hours 25 17 26
6-7 hours 5 2 5
Heavy Users (Net) 61 75 59
8-15 hours 28 26 28
16-23 hours 14 16 13
24-168 hours 19 32 18

Note: “*” indicates less than 0.5%., “-” indicates no response.
Note: Percentages may not add exactly to 100% due to rounding.

Note: Total includes all heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents. Total also include an over-sample of gay/lesbian respondents.

TABLE 5
TYPES OF BLOGS VISITED
“What types of blogs do you read?”

Base: All U.S. adults

Total GLB Heterosexual
% % %
Personal blogs 12 24 12
News blogs 9 19 9
Political blogs 8 13 8
Current issue blogs 7 13 7
Entertainment blogs 7 9 6
Sports blogs 5 8 5
Music blogs 4 6 4
Pop culture blogs 3 6 3
Book blogs 2 5 2
Gay and Lesbian blogs 1 4 *
Other 3 4 3
I do not read blogs 73 60 74

Note: “*” indicates less than 0.5%., “-” indicates no response.
Note: Multiple-response question.

Note: Total includes all heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents. Total also include an over-sample of gay/lesbian respondents.

TABLE 6
FREQUENCY OF VISITS TO FAVORITE BLOGS
“How often do you visit your favorite blogs?”

Base: U.S. adults who read blogs

Total GLB Heterosexual
% % %
Daily 20 36 19
4-6 times per week 9 11 9
2-3 times per week 17 11 17
Once a week 21 12 22
Once every two weeks 12 7 13
Once a month 9 11 8
Less often than once a month 13 11 13

Note: Percentages may not add exactly to 100% due to rounding.

Note: Total includes all heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents. Total also include an over-sample of gay/lesbian respondents.

TABLE 7
ATTITUDES TOWARD ADVERTISING ON BLOGS
“Using the scale below, how do you feel towards advertisements found on
blogs?”

Base: U.S. adults who read blogs

Total GLB Heterosexual
% % %
TOP 2 BOX (NET) 11 22 9
Very positive 2 5 1
Somewhat positive 9 17 8
Neither positive nor negative 46 31 47
BOTTOM 2 BOX (NET) 44 47 43
Somewhat negative 20 25 20
Very Negative 23 22 24

Note: Percentages may not add exactly to 100% due to rounding.

Note: Total includes all heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents. Total also include an over-sample of gay/lesbian respondents.

Methodology
Harris Interactive conducted the study online within the United States between November 13 and 20, 2006, among 2,541 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 2,205 indicated they are heterosexual and 267 self-identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual (this includes an over-sample of gays and lesbians). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region, income and amount of time spent online were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions with the online adult population. In addition, the results for the gay, lesbian and bisexual sample were weighted separately based on profiles of the gay lesbian and bisexual online populations that Harris Interactive has compiled through many different online surveys.

All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting.

With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite “margin of error” for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided.

With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 2,541 one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-2 percentage points. Sampling error for the sub-sample of heterosexuals would be +/-2 percentage points, and for the sub-sample of gays and lesbians +/-7 percentage points. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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