Three out of four U.S. social media users (74%) think the people they know on social media “paint a better picture of their lives on social media than it is in reality,” according to data
cited in Ford’s “Looking Further with Ford: 2014 Trends” report.
Paradoxically, while most people doubt each other’s authenticity on social media, social media
is also an increasingly important factor in self-image and self-esteem: 62% of consumers surveyed for the Ford report agreed with the statement, “When people react positively to the things I
share on social media, I feel better about myself.”
In another interesting finding, older people are more likely to be careful about the image they present when posting on
social media. 72% of adults over the age of 34 agreed with the statement: “I only share things on social media that I think people will like,” compared to just 40% of adults ages 34 and
under. (It’s an open question whether this is because young adults are really more open about themselves, or just haven’t realized the long-term damage that can result from
The Ford report also documents growing concern about technology taking over our lives. For example, 80% of U.S. adults agreed with the statement: “Today, the cell
phone is a crutch for people’s fear of being idle,” while 40% of Americans admitted to using their cell phone in the toilet.
Overall, 94% of American adults said “finding
time to disconnect and be alone with myself is important for my health.”
Among teens and younger adults, 90% of U.S. college undergrads have reported feeling “phantom cell
phone vibrations,” and 40% of teens said they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put others in danger.
Our efforts to unplug and relax are
meeting with mixed success, judging by some other findings: 84% of U.S. adults ages 34 and under and 64% of U.S. adults over 34 agreed with the statement: “Life is so busy, I try to make use of
every minute that I’m awake.”
On that note, 60% of U.S. pedestrians use their mobile devices while walking to text, email or talk -- and the number of emergency-room visits
resulting from pedestrians involved in accidents because they were distracted by their mobile device increased 300% from 2004 to 2010.