Rarely a day
goes by without some researcher or commentator suggesting that social media is highly addictive, or at least critical to consumers’ lives.
Consumers, at least, don’t think
social networking is that big a deal. In fact, just 11% say social media would be “very hard” to give up, according new findings from the Pew Research Center.
28% of consumers still say it would be very hard to live without their telephone landline, while 36% express dismay at the thought of living without email.
Pew’s findings were
based on data from telephone interviews with 1,006 U.S. adults, which were conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International earlier this year.
Despite the media’s
fascination with social media overload, and the bad behavior it facilitates, people seem to see the Web, and its role in their lives, as mostly positive. Indeed, 67% of Web users say their online
communication with family and friends has generally strengthened those relationships, while 18% say it generally weakens those relationships.
As Pew points out, there are no
significant demographic differences tied to users’ feelings about the impact of online communication on relationships.
Asked for a broad perspective about the civility or
incivility they have either witnessed or encountered during their online tenure, 76% of Web users say the people they witnessed or encountered online are mostly kind, compared to just 13% who say
people are mostly unkind.
People were also considerably more likely to say they themselves had been treated kindly than they had been treated unkindly or attacked. Internet users were
more likely to say online group behavior they had seen had been helpful, rather than harmful.
Overall, 70% of Internet users say they had been treated kindly or generously by others
online. That compares with 25% who say they have been treated unkindly or been attacked.
In addition, 56% of Internet users say they have seen an online group come together to help a
person or a community solve a problem. That compares with 25% who say they have left an online group because the interaction became too heated or members were unpleasant to one another.