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    Survey asks how social media makes users feel

    Posted on January 24, 2019

     

    An Apposphere study, which was carried out by Murphy Research and commissioned by picture messaging platform Snapchat, has revealed the key emotions, traits and attributes social media users associate with each of the major platforms.

    The poll was conducted last summer and asked just over 1,000 British social media users aged between 13 and 44 how each platform makes them feel. To take part in the survey, users had to be considered ‘frequent users’, meaning that they used a certain app at least once a week. They were asked to give opinions on five major platforms – Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

    A massive 95% of Snapchat users stated that the app made them feel happy. This reflects a number of independent studies that suggested social media has a positive effect on users’ moods. As well as making users feel happy, it also makes users feel silly, creative, adventurous, excited, playful, attractive, flirtatious, spontaneous and playful.

    Photo sharing platform Instagram also received a lot of praise and positivity, with the app making users feel entertained, smart, inspired, attractive, flirtatious, creative, playful, adventurous and self-conscious.

    The world’s largest video site, YouTube, conjured up feelings of being captivated, entertained, inspired, informed, creative, happy, curious, smart and excited.

    However, some of the attributes put forward by survey participants reflect the concerns raised by various parties in recent times relating to the negative effects these sites can have on individuals, with attributes such as ‘guilty’, ‘isolated’ and ‘lonely’ being associated with both Facebook and Twitter. Many experts believe that social media can be addictive and prompt low self-esteem and isolation, especially in younger users.

    As well as these feelings, Facebook was also attributed with the following mixed bag of emotions and feelings: overwhelmed, self-conscious, connected, entertained, curious and informed. Meanwhile, Twitter evoked the following sensations: anxious, depressed, self-conscious, overwhelmed, informed and flirtatious.

    It would seem that two of the most successful and long-standing social media sites are evoking the most negativity in comparison to their younger counterparts.

    As well as highlighting emotions, the survey also looked at how participants use the different social sites. It showed that Snapchat is an app where users can talk to their friends while sharing photos and videos about their day and play with various filters and lenses.

    This compares with the likes of Twitter where users said they can follow discussions, news and current affairs, as well as sharing opinions on topics of interest. This can be considered the other end of the spectrum as the site is not really about interacting with friends, which can lead to feelings of isolation and depression, especially when negativity in the news and online feeds through into it.

    Different social media sites are used for different purposes and as this survey shows, they can lead to users having different feelings about them. Therefore, can ‘social media’ in general really be deemed as addictive and negative, when users think this only applies to one or two platforms?

    Alan Littler
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