The issues surrounding social media have been front and center for the past months, but is it changing how regular social media users are actually using these platforms? Well, over half of regular users (55%) say compared to a year ago, they find themselves using social media a lot less. This number jumps to almost two-thirds of Millennials (64%) who say they are using social media a lot less this year. This is from a survey we conducted of 2,141 U.S. adults, 18 and older between January 15 and 18, 2019, of whom 1,837 are regular social media users (use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and/or Snapchat at least 1-2 times a week).
But, social media has its positives as well. Three-quarters of regular users (76%) say social media is a great way to connect with brands and/or companies. Generation Z, Millennials and Generation Xers are more likely than Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation to feel this way (84%, 84%, and 80% vs. 65% and 57%) which shows that social media is a great way to interact with the younger generations. This is something certain brands who tend to be “edgy” on Twitter have figured out already.
Social media is also a way to expand a social network. While it can make people feel lonelier, it also creates new “friends”. A majority of regular social media users (51%) say their social network in real life has expanded because of their social media network. Generation Z, Millennials and Generation Xers are more likely than Baby Boomers and Greatest Generation to say this (60%, 63% and 55% vs. 34% and 34%). Interestingly, men are also more likely than women to say social media has increased their real-life social network (58% vs. 46%).
There is also the FOMO issue of social media. And, almost two in five regular social media users (38%) say they want to stop using social media, but are afraid of what they might miss. The Fear Of Missing Out factor is strongest with Generation Z (49%) and Millennials (52%). There is also a parental disconnect. Half of those who have a child in the household (51%) say they want to stop using social media but are afraid of what they might miss compared to three in ten of those without a child in the household (29%).