Is Social Media Making Us Less “Social”: Part Deux

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Last week I wrote a post commentating on a question that gets tossed around often within the community at large, both on and offline; Is social media making us less socially and personally inclined? If you didn’t get a chance to read you can scroll down a bit or click here. It will be important to note for the rest of this post. Earlier this year, myYearbook in conjuncture with Ketchum published a study analyzing the role that teen influencers have within social media.

It’s no surprise that teenagers are highly invested in social media. Chances are good that the next time you see a teen they will be busy tweeting at Justin Bieber or watching the latest viral YouTube video. The study highlighted teen social media influencers, which they defined as the top 15% of the most active and most engaged teens in the myYearbook community. MyYearbook is a site where people can gather online for a variety of purposes including playing games, making new friends, or apparently even falling in love. Although myYearbook is not a giant on the social media playing field, it does boast an impressive 20 million users, making it a worthy population take sample from. The survey was conducted from a sample of 10,000 myYearbook members ages 13-19.

Most of the findings of the study found that these “influencers” were the most active in other social media spaces when compared to their peers. Obvious, right? This is what we would expect from such a survey. Honestly most of this study doesn’t prove to provide that much new and useful information. However, Ketchum did look into how teen influencers impact the social world offline. This my friends, applies to our previous conversation.

This portion of the study found that “teen influencers” are more likely to participate in a variety of social activities offline than their peers. The handy chart below summarizes these findings: **Data corresponds to respondents average weekend

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Keep in mind that these are the “influencers”, the ones who are on Facebook and Twitter the most, the ones who are texting while eating and watching TV at the same time. This data helps back up the view that social media is a channel for enhancing social interaction offline, and not preventing it. The teens that are the most social online, are also some of the most social offline. As I mentioned in my previous post, life is full of choices. Social media can, and should, be an excellent way to enhance our interactions offline if we allow it to do so. No one is telling you that you aren’t able to call your parents because you sent them a Facebook message instead. Those who choose to keep their personal social ties alive offline will experience no trouble. Many times in life we try to blame outside sources (technology in this case) for the cause of something that is inherent human tendency. Is it often easier to send a text message than giving your buddy a call? Sure it is, but that doesn’t mean social media is making us less “social”. You always have that choice.

The results of this study help further the notion that those who wish to remain “personally social” will have no trouble doing so, even with immense amounts of social media in the mix. So keep on keepin’ on world. Here’s to social, whatever that even means anyway.

17. August 2010 by Alex Trevisan
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Social Media | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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