Is social media turning us into detached, self-centered narcissists? That the sector’s hottest trend is the “selfie” (pictures that people take and share of themselves) suggests so.
Yet new research -- conducted in honor of our nation’s official day of thanks -- implies that social media can also be used to express all manner of gratitude. Worldwide, Marketwired counted more than 1 billion mentions of the word(s) "thankful," "thanks," and "thank you" this year.
If those magic words are any indication of caring for others, there may still be hope for humanity, according to Sysomos -- the social media monitoring platform powered by Marketwired.
“I … found that the number of times ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you’ were mentioned this year was quite large,” said Sheldon Levine, director of community at Sysomos. “It actually works out to those words appearing in social channels well over 2 million times a day.”
Where are social media users declaring their thanks?
Mostly on Twitter. In fact, Marketwired calculated 951,770,752 tweets, including messages of gratitude, this year. That compares favorably to 48,093,584 mentions in forum posts; 10,236,979 words of thanks in blog posts; and 4,372,346 mentions in online news articles.
At least through social media channels, the majority of people said they were most grateful for “life” in general, Marketwired found. Among other sources of gratitude, “friends” beat out “family” by a narrow margin, both of which were followed by “work.”
“To me, the most interesting thing was how people were most thankful for ‘life,’ meaning that they’re thankful for the life they lead,” Levine noted. “To me, this shows that while a lot of people seem down and sometimes self-deprecating, ‘life’ being the top of the list shows that a lot of people are really happy in general with what they have.”Nationally, California put out more messages of thanks than any other state this year. Other grateful states, according to social media monitored by Marketwired, include New York, Washington, Texas and Florida.