Leone Kraus

A Quick Look at Social Media Usage by the LGBT Community

Filed By Leone Kraus | August 17, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Media

Last month, Facebook announced that the site has over 500 million users, making it the second largest site - Google is the first. According to Wikipedia, Twitter attracts over 190 million monthly users and according to BlogPulse there are over 126 million blogs in the blogosphere.

So what do all these numbers mean? Find out after the jump but first, watch this video on the State of the Internet by Jess3.

According to a study done by Harris Interactive, the LGBT community is more active on social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter than our heterosexual counterparts. In addition, we're also more likely to read and engage with blogs.

A recent article on Media Post Blogs breaks down the numbers for us:

According to the June survey of 2,412 U.S adults -- including 271 identifying as gay or lesbian -- 73% of the gay and lesbian respondents reported having a Facebook profile, compared to 65% of heterosexuals. Meanwhile 32% of gays and lesbians said they were members of MySpace, versus 22% of the heterosexual respondents (the proportion of both groups is declining). In the professional arena, 22% of gays and lesbians said they are members of LinkedIn, versus 16% of heterosexuals. 29% of gays and lesbians are on Twitter, versus 15% of heterosexuals.

Gays and lesbians are also more frequent users of social network sites, according to Harris, with 55% saying they visit a social network site at least once a day, compared to 41% of heterosexuals. 30% of gays and lesbians visit several times a day, compared to 17% of heterosexuals.

Turning to other online media, 54% of gay and lesbian respondents said they read blogs, compared to 40% of the heterosexual population. Here the gay and lesbian proportion is up from 51% two years ago and 32% in November 2006. In the latest survey, gays and lesbians were more likely to read blogs about news and current events than heterosexuals (36% vs. 25%). The same is true for blogs about politics (22% vs. 14%) and travel (16% vs. 8%). Unsurprisingly, 35% of gay and lesbian respondents said they read blogs targeting gay and lesbian audiences with identity-specific content.

As an avid user of social media, it astounds me that there are some who still question its purpose. Now is the time when we should be plugged-in. We should be leveraging these platforms to share our ideas and stories with one another. By connecting online, we are able to learn things from one another that we would otherwise never have known.

So tell me, what social media platforms do you use? If you're new to social media, tell me what platforms you would love to know more about.

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I'm mostly a Facebook user although I do use Twitter. I just get burnt out on Twitter often if there's no real conversation and just random links to stuff. I don't really like it for the "news" aspect as much as the social.

Hi Bil,

If all you’re only getting links in your Twitter stream, then your Twitter community is doing little to engage their following. This is due to a lack of an efficient Twitter strategy. If you take a look at @fightbackny versus @queerty, you'll see a huge difference in how both of these sites share content with their followings. I learned that Twitter should be focused on “what you're thinking” and not “what you're doing.” Facebook status updates are generally focused on "what you're doing,” which is usually why people find them so annoying. Unless you're familiar with the strategies behind these applications, this may be hard to discern. When sharing links on Twitter, one should always post a small thought prior to the link to engage their Twitter following to open the link. I encourage you to also check out @benanddave. They do an excellent job with sharing their content and engaging their fans in content they love, resulting in a strong online community.

I'll be addressing the strategies behind this in a future post.

Like your ideas about Twitter & FB. In fact, I almost intuitively do what you suggested - Twitter is for micro-posts typically about thoughts/opinions/observations; FB I use more to "announce" something significant that I've recently done (e.g. going to Italy for the first time). OTH, can't stand when FB friends and family constantly post about every burp and fart they've made or when a pop artist constantly announces, in 100 different ways, causes, tickets, or CD/DVD's they are selling.

I'll have to remember to do a mini-thought before I post a link on Twitter in the future. I realize that I am more likely to click on another person's or org's link if they do the same.

In the past I've used LinkedIn, Blogger, Tumblr, Yahoo 360 (remember that one?), Picasa, Flickr, friendster, and even Orkut (!) and done personal podcasting using different hosting sites.

Hi Joe G.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I've never heard of Yahoo 360 but will definitely look into it. I cringe every time I see Friendster. There's a site called Radarius that has picked up all of my old Friendster stuff and runs it on their site. To shut it off, I actually have to create an account, which I'm not yet willing to do.

I'm currently reading "The Facebook Effect" which talks a lot about the evolvement of social media. They do mention a number of sites like Orkut, MySpace, Friendster and a few others in between. It amazes me how much social media has evolved over the past six years or so. It seems a lot of people just stole ideas from one another but who am I to judge.

I'm glad you mention podcasts. Not many know that it is actually considered a type of social media.

Hey, Leone,

Actually, Yahoo 360 was an attempt on that company's part to create a self-contained social networking site like FB. It failed and it has since been shut down.

I'm glad to see that TBP has the same-sex sunday podcast that they link up here. When I did podcasting 4-5 years ago it had a lot more personal podcasts (we called them audio blogs). Now these seem more focused on specific cultural and political issues for the lgbt community.

Most interesting topic. :)

beachcomberT | August 22, 2010 6:35 AM

Gee, my pattern is just the opposite. I use Twitter to post news updates on issues I follow closely, and Facebook, which allows longer messages, for both news and opinion/analysis. I try not to get too personal on either, except as a hook for raising an issue. No one cares what I had for dinner.

I have a Facebook, which is my primary for that, but I also use MySpace. Disclaimer: I'm a musician :P

Speaking of which, my band uses not only both, but also Twitter, and Headline.FM and ReverbNation for independent artists. The new social media provided by these has noticeably increased turnout at shows, and our views on ReverbNation were noticed by "the right people," earning us a nomination for the Hollywood Music In Media Award for Best Metal Band (ceremony airs in November).

Needless to say, we're quite grateful for the growth of New Media.

Hi Taelyn,

Thanks for responding. I work with a couple LGBT musicians on their social media strategies. They definitely see eye-to-eye with you in regards to new media.

I have a question for you. Do you still find Facebook helpful in bringing fans to shows?

I decided to revitalize my twitter usage by only following people who are close friends in real life. I do care what those people had for lunch. It's not an effective means of following news because loading the links on my Droid is too slow.

It’s fantastic that you like to share personal updates on Twitter. You are not alone in this. I thought you might like this video. It's on the use of Twitter to share personal updates. It's also good for anyone reading who may be new to Twitter and doesn't understand how it works.


We do tend to have more spare time on our hands.