October 28, 2013

Photo and Video Sharing Grow Online

Creators and Curators

Photos and videos have become an integral part of the online social experience. In a new survey conducted by Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, more than half of internet users post or share photos or videos online. Our latest data shows:

  • 54% of adult internet users post original photos or videos online that they themselves have created. We call them creators and their number has grown from 46% of internet users last year.
  • 47% of adult internet users take photos or videos that they have found online and repost them on sites designed for sharing images with many people. We call them curators and their number has grown from 41% of internet users last year.

The creator group is made up of those who have posted photos they have taken themselves (52% of internet users do so) and those who have posted videos they have taken themselves (26% of internet users).  If a person did either of these activities (or both), we consider them an online image creator.

The curator group is made up of those who have taken photos they found online and posted them on a sited used for sharing images with others (42% of internet users have done so) and those who have taken videos they found online and posted them to a video-sharing site (36% of internet users have done so). If a person did either of these activities (or both), we consider them an online image curator.

Taken together, 62% of internet users have done at least one of these creating or curating activities. This is a significant increase from the 56% who did so in 2012. Some 40% of internet users are both creators and curators.

Instagram and Snapchat

The near-ubiquity of cell phone ownership and the rapid rise of smartphones has created a platform for mobile photo- and video-sharing. This survey found that 92% of Americans own a cell phone, and 58% own a smartphone. Mobile apps like Instagram and Snapchat have capitalized on user bases equipped and eager to capture and share visual moments. This is our first read on Snapchat and the first time we have asked cell phone owners about Instagram.  We found:

  • 9% of cell phone owners use Snapchat, the photo- and video-sharing app that automatically deletes images after they have been viewed.
  • 18% of cell phone owners use Instagram, a photo- and video-sharing social media app with signature filters, recently acquired by Facebook.

About this survey

A nationally representative survey of 1,000 adults ages 18+ was taken October 3-6, 2013. It was conducted in English on landline and cell phones. The sample contained 852 internet users and 941 cell phone owners. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 3.7 percentage points. The margin of error for internet users is +/- 4.0 percentage points. The margin of error for cell phone owners is +/- 3.8 percentage points.