Study Finds Social Users Seek Inspiration, Many Plan To Unfollow Undesirable Accounts

There might always be mixed emotions surrounding the use of social media. Divisive, addictive, and harmful platforms also have the power to entertain and connect. 

In October, Playsee, a video-sharing social media app, conducted a survey of 1,000 respondents through Pollfish that shows shifting attitudes amongst social media users. Key takeaways include users’ increased screen time over the past year and their need for more authentic, relatable, and positive content.  

Studies are now showing that during the COVID-19 pandemic, American teens’ screen time doubled, to 8 hours per day. Playsee’s findings follow these recent trends, as 65% of users between the ages of 18 and 54 reported one or more hours of increased screen time during the pandemic. Thirty percent reported more than three hours of increased screen time, and another 30% reported spending more than four hours on social media apps every day. 



That said, some of those surveyed reported being dissatisfied with the current social media landscape. A third (33%) of respondents agreed that they are feeling a negative shift in their overall mood after long stints spent on social media, while 58% felt social media promotes standards that only favor a minority of users. And 45% planned to unfollow accounts that make them feel down. 

These results are particularly telling in lieu of so many recent reports on social media’s negative effects on body image and mental health

Just last week, the state of Ohio sued Facebook’s parent company Meta for $100 billion in damages, claiming that the social media platform misled the public on the effects of their products on children. The lawsuit is largely in response to the internal documents leaked by Frances Haugen, which showed the potential harm Instagram might have on teenagers, especially girls.  

Playsee’s study also gathered data on what users want from social media in the future. 

Post-pandemic, representation and relatability are ranked, with 86% of users saying they want to see less filtered, more authentic content and videos that closely reflect “real life experiences.” Three-quarters (74%) of respondents unfollowed specific social media accounts that didn’t “represent” them in their content. More than half (56%) plan to follow more accounts that inspire and uplift them over the next year.

The survey shows that the shift toward more realistic, casual, and less curated online content is already upon us, with more than half (60%) of respondents saying this is the case.

Some positive outcomes of social media and general screen time among those surveyed involved travel and personal interaction. Seventy-eight percent of users reported discovering new travel spots via their social media feeds, and 34% of users said their online interactions prompted in-person plans one to two times per week.

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