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Social Media Users Want to Be Heard

A look at user attitudes

December 17, 2009

While social media users may not find social sites quite as trustworthy as traditional sources of news, according to research from Crowd Science they do see it as an important communications medium—for better and for worse.

Users want to be heard. Overall, 45% reported liking when others notice them—leading some to stretch the truth or reveal too much personal information. Young people were especially vulnerable to activities that might haunt them later.

But 36% believed others are simply interested in what they have to say. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to marketers, who know many users will tell all their contacts about good (and bad) experiences with products and services.

Females lived up to their reputation as prime targets of marketers seeking the benefits of earned media. Among users over age 30, women were significantly more likely than men to think others wanted to hear what they thought.

Attitudes of Online Social Media Users Worldwide Regarding Their Use of Social Media, by Age and Gender, August 2009 (% of respondents)

In addition, women overall were more than three times as likely as men to say online social media was their favorite leisure activity.

Though not everything appearing on social media is trustworthy, nearly one-half of users responding to the survey claimed they could “easily” tell whether information they got from social media was true. Less than one-quarter disagreed. These savvy users believe they can spot the difference between the real deal and insincere efforts.

Attitudes of Online Social Media Users Worldwide Toward Social Media, August 2009 (% of respondents)

While face-to-face contact with friends was generally preferred, about one-third of users said they would rather communicate by social media than by telephone.

Keep up on the latest digital trends. Learn more about an eMarketer Total Access subscription, today.

Check out today’s other article, “Video Viewing, in Context.”

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