What’s the demographic sweet spot for users of social networks? Not what you think. According to a study released by Pingdom, a web monitoring provider, 25% of users of social networking sites are between 35 and 44, and 57% of the users are older than 35.

This is a mainstream media audience with significant purchasing power and an investment in social tools.

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A breakdown of age distribution by leading social network sites is even more instructive. Bebo and MySpace are the youngest sites, each with more than 40% of their users under 24. Facebook is one of the most balanced sites in terms of age distribution. Twitter, Delicious, LinkedIn and Classmates.com skew the oldest.

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The older-skewing sites, interestingly, are focused largely on content-sharing or connecting. The design of LinkedIn, for instance, is highly focused on organizing your professional information, but doesn’t give a full-spectrum of communications tools.

The second chart is a little misleading, in that is doesn’t reflect the dominance of Facebook in terms of members and audience.

The data was aggregated using Google Ad Planner.

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