Social Media Addiction One Year Later

If you read our blog post from May 5th, 2010, we shared a study conducted by University of Maryland’s International Center for Media & the Public Agenda. This study featured 200 students who had to live 24 hours without social media. This meant no access to Twitter, Facebook, email, and even texting. The students in this study wrote blogs about their experience without social media and lets just say it was a traumatic challenge.

Now a year later a new study is released that went global this time. They asked 1,000 students from the United States, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia to abstain from social media for 24 hours They were asked to report on any successes and failures during the experience.

Highlights of the study were interesting. Students actually used the word addiction when asked about their social media usage. Some reported that they felt depressed, lonely, and even shaky without having a social media connection. They also reported that they felt like they lost apart of themselves without social media. This led to confusion and a sense of loss. It wasn’t just access to social media these students lost for a day, they also lost email, music, news, and entertainment. So not only is social media how we stay connected with others and the world, but it is also a way of life. Social media is how people manage their lives and how they communicate.

Although this study shows that a year later we are still addicted to social media, it also helped students realize their dependence. As we are becoming a society that uses social media in our everyday lives, businesses should put their own perspective on the matter.  Marketers and advertisers should harness the benefits of social media for their business. This study should help businesses learn how to use social media and understand how consumers use it. Marketers and advertisers will be at full advantage if they can figure out how to use social media to better their business and attract new customers. Social media has so many facets to choose from, giving businesses the chance to experiment and find what works and what does not.

Recent Poll: Women Most Addicted to Facebook

Facebook is the second most visited website behind Google. With that said, speculation is growing that the popular networking site may have reached its peak. After a blockbuster growth month in May 2010 of more than 7.8 million new US users, June supplied a growth of only 320,000. Privacy concerns surrounding Facebook is believed to be the explanation for this dropoff.

Though growth rates associated with Facebook have been inconsistent, researchers are finding that its users are becoming more and more addicted once they’ve joined and explored Facebook’s networking capabilities, especially women.

Last week, a poll that surveyed 1,605 adult users found that 34% of women ages 18-34, admitted that Facebook was the first thing that they thought of when they woke up. Further, many said they check Facebook before doing anything else in the morning, including using the restroom. Here are some other interesting statistics from the responses of the same demographic:

* 63% use Facebook for career networking
* 20% admitted to doing middle of the night checks on Facebook
* 48% get their daily news from Facebook posts
* 57% stated they talk to people online more than face to face

Generally speaking, 50% of the 400+ million Facebook users are logged in on any given day. The average user creates 70 pieces of content per month and is connected to 60 pages, groups, or events. The average amount of friends per user is 130 and in general, over 500 billion minutes per month are spent on Facebook.

With these stunning statistics is the June growth decline a cause for alarm for Facebook’s masterminds? If privacy concerns subside, Facebook should have lasting power. The site is very user-friendly which is extremely important with technology becoming more and more advanced. Moreover, users sure have a lot of stock and time invested in their profiles. Switching to a different cyber hangout seems like an unrealistic transition, at least for a while.

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Social Media Addiction

In a recent blog post, we shared some very interesting stats about the growth of social media use. Taking it a step further, we look at a study conducted by the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media & the Public Agenda. The study, “24 Hours: Unplugged”, took 200 students and stripped them from social media for 24 hours. That meant no iPhones, texting, laptops, twittering, Facebook, and email. Some of you are shaking right now…

By reading the blogs from some of the students, not only was being “unplugged” a challenge: it was traumatic! The study reported that a few descriptions from the student’s experience were documented over and over: “In withdrawl”, “Frantically craving”, “Very anxious”, “Extremely antsy”, “Miserable”, “Jittery”, “Crazy”.

One student’s post read: “I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening”. Another one said: “I noticed physically, that I began to fidget, as if I was addicted to my iPod and other media devices”.

American college students struggle to function without their media connection to the world. Some students even failed to go 24 hours. While trying to avoid new technology and blaring TVs, the students found themselves surrounded by them regardless. Many students noted how it was “boring” to walk around without an mp3 player providing a soundtrack for their ears. When cut off from social media, many students felt cut off from other humans like they were living in isolation. The research also found that the friendships and relationships of these 18-21 year olds were dependent on technology.

Many students had been appalled when the assignment was announced.  They were skeptical about the purpose and even fearful about going without media for such a “long” period of time.  Many students admitted that they had had doubts from the beginning about their ability to complete the assignment — and those students who didn’t manage to go the entire 24 hours noted that they weren’t surprised by their failure to do so.

So what does this study remind us about business? Marketers and advertisers looking to increase brand awareness and loyalty, should strongly consider social media use. Having a better understanding of each social media method and how consumers use each service will result in providing more appealing content that will engage one’s target market in an effective and ongoing manner.

More info:

Student’s blog: A Day Without Media