The FINANCIAL — New York , N.Y. — In today’s world, social media usage appears to run rampant at times. Aside from just keeping in touch with friends and family, social media has a plethora of other uses; but while more Americans are seeing benefits from their social media usage, they are also encountering some negative experiences, according to Harris Interactive Inc.
The good, the bad, and the offensive
More Americans are seeing tangible benefits from social media than in the past. Half of U.S. Adults (50%) have ever received a good suggestion for something to try, up 10 points from 2010 (40%). An increased number of Americans also cited that they made a connection regarding a job opportunity (21% today vs. 15% 2010) via social media, while a marginally higher percentage found a new apartment or house (11% today vs. 9% 2010).
Millennials are significantly more likely than all other generations to have had luck in any of these cases:
- Received a good suggestion for something to try (66% vs. 56% Gen Xers, 37% Baby Boomers & 33% Matures)
- Made a connection regarding a job opportunity (37% vs. 24% Gen Xers, 10% Baby Boomers & 6% Matures)
- Found a new apartment or house (19% vs. 11% Gen Xers, 5% Baby Boomers & 2% Matures)
- On the other hand, negative experiences as a result of being active on social media are not unheard of either. Half of social media users (51%) say they have been offended by posts, comments or pictures they’ve seen on social media, up 8 points from 2010 (43%).
Millennials and Gen Xers are both more likely than Matures to have experienced this (58% & 50% vs. 37%).
In addition, over one-quarter of social media users (27%) say unintended persons have viewed links they posted or comments they made, according to Harris Interactive Inc.
Additionally, 8% say they have gotten into trouble with school or work because of pictures posted of them online and 7% have lost a potential job opportunity because of pictures or posts they’ve made online; these experiences are both more common among men than women.
Twelve percent of men say they have gotten into with school or work because of pictures posted of them online, compared with just 5% of women.
Similarly, 10% of men say they have lost a potential job opportunity because of pictures or posts they’ve made online, compared with just 3% of women.
Privacy confidence is strong – but slipping
Negative experiences aside, 71% of social media users agree that potentially bad experiences resulting from social media activity can be prevented through the use of privacy settings, with 25% strongly agreeing. This belief has dwindled some from 2010 when 78% agreed with this notion and 28% strongly agreed, according to Harris Interactive Inc.
Belief in the preventive powers of privacy settings is highest among Millennials, with 78% agreeing that potentially negative experiences resulting from social media activity can be prevented through the use of privacy settings (compared with 68% of Gen Xers, 67% of Baby Boomers, & 66% of Matures).
While confidence that privacy settings selected on their accounts are functioning as they should remains high at 60%, it has dropped quite a bit from 2010, when 71% felt this way.
Millennials retain the most positive outlook on this point as well, compared with both Baby Boomers and Matures (67% vs. 56% & 50%), according to Harris Interactive Inc.