How America Uses the Internet

Search and email are still the most popular online activities

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With the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+, one might expect social media to be at or near the top most popular online activities. But according to a new Pew study, it still has a long way to go. The No. 1 online activities among U.S. adults are still email and search, as they have been since Pew started collecting data in 2002. 92 percent of American adults who use the Internet report using email; the same percentage they use search. They are followed getting the news (76 percent), shopping (71 percent), and finally social networking (65 percent).

An important caveat is that only adults were surveyed. We would expect those under 18 to be more likely to be on Facebook. Still, social media has made tremendous inroads into the U.S. adult population as the first users of sites like Facebook grow up and even older Americans start connecting online. Only 11 percent of U.S. adults used social media in 2005, which means we've seen a six-fold increase in six years. But whether or not Pew wants to study it, we all know what adults really use the Internet for.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.