Pew: The 'Message' Is Increasingly the Medium

Turns out that Hillary Clinton is in the minority when she talks about favoring a Snapchat app that automatically deletes messages (she is under the gun over classified emails on her server), but that may be a factor of age.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, only 17% of respondents with smart phones use apps like Snapchat or Wickr, whose messages are not preserved, compared to 36% who use messaging apps such as Kik or iMessage that do.

But those numbers grow markedly for younger demos. Roughly half of smart phone users 18-30 use a messaging app, and 41% use a message-deleting app.

Pew points out that such apps are free and, when used with Wi-Fi, don't use up SMS data. The study also points out they offer a more private online socializing than Facebook or Twitter.

The study found that use of Pinterest and Instagram has doubled since 2012, with 31% using Pinterest, up from 15% in 2012, and 28% using Instagram, up from 13% in 2012.

Growth has leveled off, however. None of the social media platforms in the survey had significantly significant increases in the number of users between September 2014 and April 2015, though among those who already use them, frequency of use has increased significantly.

Facebook continues to dominate among social media sites, with 72% of online respondents saying they use it, 70% daily and 43% several times a day.

The study found that 15% of Internet users are on discussion forums including reddit, Digg or Slashdot, while 10% use Tumblr.

The survey was conducted March 17-April 12, 2015 of 1,907 adults 18-plus (1,612 of which are Internet users). The margin of error for all respondents was plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.