There’s no question that social media has had enormous impact on how, when and why we interact with one another. But has our growing reliance on digital platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and online forums made us more anti-social face-to-face?
Badoo, the social networking and meet up site, set out to determine just what sort of impact social media use has had on social interactions offline. To this end, they hired the research firm Dynamic Markets to survey more than 6,000 Britons, Germans and Americans during March and April of this year regarding their interpersonal beliefs and behaviors both on and offline.
- Nearly 40 percent of Americans surveyed said they now spend more time socializing online than they do in their offline lives, and the same percentage have announced or shared bad news such as the end of a marriage or the loss of a loved one via social media.
- 35 percent yearn to increase their circle of friends, and nearly one-third reported they are lonely sometimes.
- One in four of the US respondents conceded they have been less than truthful on social media regarding someone they’d met or something they’d done.
- More than 40 percent of young adults (ages 18 to 24) use a social media site to cancel plans with friends rather than do so in person or over the phone.
But as it turns out, all is not doom and gloom on the American social scene. This same study also revealed a number of positive aspects to our virtual connectivity, such as:
- 75 percent of those surveyed indicated they had never told an untruth to their social media connections and followers, and nearly 60 percent of the young adults surveyed (and 84 percent of adults in all age groups) have never used social media to break a date, cancel an appointment or skip out on any other social activity.
- More than 80 percent expressed delight with the fact that social media allows them to keep in better touch with family and friends who live far away;
- Nearly 80 percent have used these sites to look up and reconnect with people they have lost touch with.
- More than eight in 10 respondents felt that social networks make it easier for shy and lonely people to reach out to others.
“This research highlights the importance of having a healthy balance between online and offline social interaction,” according to Badoo CMO Jessica Powell. “Seventy percent of Badoo users tell us they’re there to chat and make new friends, and so it’s fantastic to see this study showing social networks provide a boost in confidence to approach new people.”
For marketers, studies like this underscore the importance of maintaining the same healthy balance of virtual and real world contact when crafting marketing campaigns. Moreover, the most effective marketing campaigns will strive to improve the customer experience and build relationships with customers, not just sell to them.