Sometimes little things like a sweet comment on Facebook or a Twitter friend calling your tweet a "favorite" can really make a social networker bee's day.
A new study from Pew finds that for the most part, adults are kind to each other on social media sites. In fact, 85% of adults say that most of the people they come across on social media are rather kind; only 5% say that people are "mostly unkind," which would imply rude or mean. An additional 5% say that it's all situational. On the whole, adults have positive experiences on social networking sites. A total 68% of SNS users had an experience that "made them feel good about themselves," 61% said something on social networks "made them feel closer to another person." Of the generous and helpful variety, 39% of users said they saw acts of generosity and 36% said they see other user behaving in generous and helpful ways.
Not everything is peaches and cream, though.
There are some social media users who don't feel so happy-go-lucky. Not everyone experiences kind, helpful behavior on social networking sites. That would be about 18% of users; another 5% claim to never see any generosity or helpfulness at all.
Sometimes interactions on social networking sites have negative outcomes. Of the people surveyed by Pew, 26% of adults experienced negative outcomes. Of that percentage, 15% said bad experiences ended friendships, 12% resulted in a face-to-face argument or confrontation, 11% said those interactions caused family-related problems, 3% got into a physical fight with someone based on an interaction, and 3% got into trouble at work. About 13% of adult SNS users say that someone else acted rudely toward them in the past year.
Unless you live in a world that resembles the movie Young Adult, you probably don't think of yourself as an adolescent. On social networking sites, adults tend to be more positive and less negative than teenagers; 41% of SNS-using teens had at least one bad experiences versus 26% of SNS-using adults.
Dear White Guys, Please Read This
Pew points out that non-white people, women, parents and millennials are more likely to see content that offends them. Of that group, 42% of black SNS users and 33% of Hispanic SNS users frequently saw language, images or humor that they found offensive compared to 22% of white SNS users. Taking a look at this in terms of age, 34% of millennials (ages 18-34) found some material offensive, compared with only 17% of Gen-X users (ages 35-46). The survey doesn't even give the tiny percentage of Baby Boomers who felt offended by material on SNS sites. Additionally, 29% of women were offended versus 22% of men, and 29% of parents with small children found offensive material versus 24% of nonparents.
Who Did Pew Survey?
Pew surveyed 2,260 adults ages 18-and-up over the period of July 25-August 26, 2011. Of the people surveyed, 1,047 were SNS and Twitter users. The margin of error is plus-or-minus three percentage points. A total 64% of adults surveyed used social networking sites. 87% had a profile on Facebook, 14% on MySpace, 11% on Twitter, 10% on LinkedIn and 13% on other social networking sites.
Images courtesy Shutterstock.
Do your friends on social networks make you feel good about yourself? Share your experiences in the comments.