Pew: The 'Message' 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 allegedly classified emails on her server), but that may be a factor of age.

In a new Pew Research Center survey, only 17% of respondents with smart phones use apps like Snapchat or Wickr, which do not preserve messages, compared with 36% who use messaging apps such as Kik or iMessage, which do.

But those numbers change markedly among younger demos. Roughly half of smartphone users ages 18-30 use a messaging app, and 41% use a message-deleting app.

Pew pointed out that such apps are free and, when used with WiFi, don't use up SMS data. The study also noted that message-deleting apps offer 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 significant increases in the number of users between September 2014 and April 2015, though among those who already use them, frequency of use had 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, among 1,907 adults 18-plus (of whom 1,612 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.