Social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat, has become a part of everyday life now and almost nine in ten Americans (86%) are regular users (at least 1-2 times a week) of one of those social media sites. And, while so much of the focus on using these sites is privacy, almost two-thirds of Americans (65%) and over three in five regular social media users (63%) say people on social media should not have any expectations of privacy. This is from a survey we conducted of 2,141 U.S. adults, 18 and older between January 15 and 18, 2019.
There are many critiques of social media, and these are shared by both Americans as well as these regular users. Three-quarters of U.S. adults and regular social media users (76% for both) say one of the problems with so much social media is people cannot focus on things for a long time any longer. Two-thirds of Americans and regular social media users (67% for both) say social media is making people lonelier in reality.
There are some generational differences as one might expect. Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation are more likely than those who are Generation Z, Millennials and Gen Xers to say people on social media should not have any expectations of privacy (70% and 74% vs. 52%, 64% and 62%). Interestingly, Millennials and Generation Xers are more likely than Generation Z, Baby Boomers and Greatest Generationers to say social media is making people lonelier in reality (74% and 70% vs. 62%, 62% and 61%).
However, it isn’t all bad. Three in five U.S. adults (61%) and two-thirds of regular social media users (66%) believe the positive aspects of social media outweigh the negative aspects. In fact, looking ahead a year, almost three in five Americans (58%) say people will use social media a lot more, three in ten (31%) say they will use it the same as they do now and just one in ten (11%) say people will use it less. Not surprisingly, regular social media users are a little more optimistic about the future of social media with over three in five (62%) saying people will use it more in a year.