Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Be Happy, Use Social Media

Today, our guest post comes from Peter Gold, the CEO of Veraquest. His broad range of research experience lends itself particularly well to the world of omnibus research where clients tend to have an extremely diverse set of needs. Peter’s background as a practice leader has enabled him to develop a business model that is rich in client-centric benefits while simultaneously being very cost-effective. Peter earned a BSBA from the University of Florida and holds an MBA from Boston College.  His company, VeraQuest is a Sponsor at this year's The Market Research Event.

Be Happy, Use Social Media

Last week, we spoke about the use of social media and how it has pervaded the lives of online adults in the United States. But today we would like to reflect on whether the now-unavoidable presence of social media has had a positive or negative impact on our world.

In general, Americans tend to lean (and this lean is only ever-so-slight) to the positive when thinking about the impact of social media.

  • 46% of online adults (only a plurality) believe that the impact of social media has been generally positive. But, the vast majority of this group is in the “somewhat” positive camp.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 online adults feel there has been no real impact by the introduction of social media to our world, which frankly I find hard to believe.
  • About 1 in 3 feel the impact has been negative.
When thinking about social media, its greatest impact seems to lie in changing our collective intellect… in improving our ability to absorb and reflect on information, causing us to become better thinkers, communicators, and citizens. But this change may have come at a price as emotionally and physically we seem to have lost a step, feeling more anxious and stressed and less physically active, due to our use of social
media.

Specifically according to our data, most online adults feel that social media has caused us to become more:
  • ►Connected to one another (81%)
  • Informed about the world around us (77%)
  • Willing to try new things (75%)
  • Willing to take risks (67%)
  • Creative (66%)
  • Adaptable to new situations (63%)
  • Self-confident (62%)
  • Effective communicators (61%)
  • Professionally successful (61%)
  • Effective critical thinkers (52%)
  • Thoughtful to the needs of others unlike us (52%)
  • However at the same time, many online adults agree that social media has caused us to become:
  • More isolated (49%)
  • More anxious or stressed (62%)
  • Less physically active (75%) and healthy (57%)
All that said, here is my favorite slice of the data: almost 2 in 3 online adults (64%) say that social media has made us happier – and what’s better than that?

And therein lies the riddle of social media. It has caused us to become more connected, yet more isolated; more cerebral, yet less physically fit; and happier yet more anxious.

Tell us – how often do you use social media? And how do you feel it has changed you personally and the way you interact with the world?

1 comment:

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