New research done this June by Anderson Analytics of 5000 U.S. social media users says that 71% "can't live without Facebook." Life without Twitter could be tolerated by 43% making 57% saying it is vital to their lives these days.
As for the most "valuable network" the study shows 75% touting Facebook, 30% naming the business centred LinkedIn and only 12% giving Twitter the #1 designation. Makes sense to me given the more social nature of Facebook overall.
Twitter is a much different social media animal that Facebook I think. It is more issues and activist oriented. That is especially true if you use a program like Tweetdeck.com to organize you Tweets and messages in themes instead of just chronologically. Chief Marketing Officers are trending towards Twitter according to a recent Business Week story. Part of the reason is you can find and target different social network communities using Twitter. One CMO comment was the Twitter users are the "loudest" group online - a sentiment I share.
The Anderson survey estimates that 110 million Americans are regular social media users. That is 36% of the population. Men are more active in all three social media than women partly because men are less likely to be concerned about meeting strangers on line. Facebook has women participating than men 56% vs 44% but LinkedIn has more men than women 57% to 43% participants. The average social media networker will visit sites 5 days a week and about 4 times a day for an hour each and every day.
Social media is changing the nature of communications, relationships and information sharing. It is horizontal and community based with a richer definition of community than neighbourhood.