Adults Report Positive Social Network Experiences

Separate and apart from teens, most adults view the overall social and emotional climate of social networks in a positive light. In fact, 85% of social networking adults say that their experience on such sites is that people are mostly kind, according to new findings from The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

What’s more, 68% of social adults reported having an experience that made them feel good about themselves, while 61% had experiences that made them feel closer to another person.

No word from Pew on how many adults reported positive (or negative) experiences with brands, but the fact that most people get good vibes from social networks could make marketers more comfortable with the medium.

That said, notable proportions of social adults do report instances of bad behavior, and nearly a third have experienced some negative outcomes from their experiences on social networking sites.

Some 49% of adult social networkers said they have seen mean or cruel behavior displayed by others at least occasionally, while 26% said they had experienced at least one of the bad outcomes that were queried in the survey. 

Still, as a rule, more adults than teens reported positive results with social media. As Pew reported last year, 41% of social teens had had a bad experiences, compared with 26% of adults.

“When they see mean or aggressive behavior on social networking sites, adults are more likely than teens to ignore it and not get involved,” according to Lee Rainie, the Director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

Compared with teen users, social adults are somewhat more likely to stand back, not get involved, and ignore the offensive behavior.

For instance, 45% of adult users who had witnessed problems said they frequently ignored offensive behavior online, compared with 35% of teens who said they frequently ignored offensive behavior.

“There is special concern about the social and emotional tone that teenagers encounter on SNS, particularly in light of widespread news coverage of bullying and sexting,” Rainie added.

Pew’s latest survey involved 2,260 adult respondents, and was conducted during the summer of 2011. 

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