With the heavy relevance on social media these days, one might be wondering: are we actually addicted to this thing called social media? If so, what does this addiction feel like? An international study entitled, "The World Unplugged" asked 1,000 students aged 17-23 years old to give up any form of media for one entire day. This study collected surveys from young adults in ten various countries, such as the U.S., Argentina, Uganda, and the United KIngdom. How do you think the students responded? Were they able to abstain from media for one whole day?
As you can imagine, the students had a difficult time trying to follow the researchers request; just following the 24 hour rule was easier said than done. Those who were able to pass the test reported feeling withdrawal symptoms similar to a drug addiction including anxiety, cravings, depression, boredom, isolation, and distress. All the responses were represented in an "addiction grid” (see below).
Two additional take aways from the study:
1) News, in the eyes of the students, meant anything that their friends were talking about on Facebook and Twitter. They tend to rely more on social media sites for new information; although they can easily review CNN.com, they mentally choose not to.
2) With the full 24 hours, if students could hold out, they missed the social networking sites more than email. Email was important, but not as important as social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
What does this study reveal? It reveals that "young people around the world care most about whatever latest hardware or app can connect them most quickly to the people they most value. The students may have settled in for the foreseeable future with familiar social networks (Facebook, Twitter), they may have definite preferences about their favorite brands of phones (Blackberry v. iPhone), but the next “better” thing will get quickly picked up by the early adopters, and either steal market share or entirely displace older tools and technologies" (Wolford). In other words, if you have not already setup your company's Facebook and Twitter page, then perhaps it's time to get started.
Are you addicted to social media? Why or why not? How do you these findings change your perspective about social media and its influence on your business?
About Alan Moore: Alan is an Internet Marketing Consultant with ReachLocal Baltimore. His mission is to help you increase your revenues and decrease unproductive advertising expenses through proven, online marketing strategies. He manages over $1,000,000 in yearly marketing budgets and has worked with local businesses, agencies and the US government. Give him a call at (877)655-3438 to schedule a free consultation.
Interested in learning more from the “World Unplugged” study? Check out Josh Wolford’s complete article here: http://www.webpronews.com/addicted-to-social-media-2011-04