In today’s world, social media usage appears to run rampant at times. Thank God, or I wouldn’t have anything to write about. Like most of you, social media allows me to stay in touch with family and friends. And, as many of you know, its benefits don’t stop there. Social media has a huge range of other important uses. With that said, while more Americans are seeing benefits from their social media usage, they are also encountering some negative experiences. These are some of the results of the Harris Poll of 2,276 U.S. adults surveyed online between November 12 and 17, 2014.
More Americans than ever are seeing tangible benefits from social media. SWEET! Half of U.S. Adults (50%) have received a good suggestion for something to try, up 10 points from 2010 (40%). Meanwhile, just 29% said they never get suggestions from social media (and the remainder don’t use social media). An increased number of Americans also cited that they made a connection regarding a job opportunity (21% today vs. 15% 2010) via social media, while a marginally higher percentage found a new apartment or house (11% today vs. 9% 2010).
Conversely, negative experiences as a result of being active on social media are not exactly rare. Half of social media users (51%) say they have been offended by posts, comments or pictures they’ve seen on social media, up 8 points from 2010 (43%).
In addition, over one-quarter of social media users (27%) say unintended persons have viewed links they posted or comments they made.
And, on a frightening note, 8% say they have gotten into trouble with school or work because of photos posted of them online and 7% have lost a potential job opportunity because of photos or posts they’ve made online. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these experiences are both more common among men (sigh) than women.
Negative experiences aside, 71% of social media users agree that potentially bad experiences resulting from social media activity can be prevented through the use of privacy settings, with 25% strongly agreeing. This belief has dwindled some from 2010 when 78% agreed with this notion and 28% strongly agreed.
While confidence that privacy settings selected on their accounts are functioning as they should remains high at 60%, it has dropped quite a bit from 2010, when 71% felt this way. Is anyone even slightly surprised?
So, honestly, all of this sounds like kind of a mixed bag to me. Like most things in life, you have to take the good with the bad. The good news is, if you really don’t like social media you don’t have to use it!