It’s becoming clear that social media isn’t always necessarily so social, at least to the extent that it is discouraging or displacing, rather than complementing, actual “face-to-face” personal interactions. And this is a real phenomenon, according to new research from Weber Shandwick and KRC Research (a subsidiary of WS), which surveyed 2,000 U.S. and Canadian women as part of its “Digital Women Influencers” study.
Unsurprisingly, the WS-KRC survey found that rates of adoption for social media among North American women are very high, with 86% of respondents saying they have at least one social media account. Meanwhile 68% of respondents said they spend at least one hour a week on social media; these intensive users have an average 1,600 social connections across all social sites. And 62% say that they like social media because it lets them control who they interact with, and when.
More interesting (and depressing, at least in my opinion) is the fact that 24% of these intensive users -- around 16% of the total -- said they would rather socialize online than face-to-face. Women who are intensive social media users are also more likely to enjoy online socializing than dating or spending time with their partner (75% versus 72%).
By the same token, there are some signs of social media fatigue: 38% of the women surveyed said they have cut back or stopped using social media altogether in the last six months. Among those who said they are decreasing usage, 59% said they lost interest, and 35% said they are too busy.
According to a separate study from Pew, 61% of all Facebook users say they have taken fairly substantial breaks (i.e., several weeks long) from the site. Among the most popular reasons for taking breaks from Facebook were “too busy/don’t have time,” at 21%; “just wasn’t interested/didn’t like it,” at 10%; “waste of time/content not relevant,” at 10%; and “too much drama/negativity/gossip,” at 9%.