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Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Tweets

June 3, 2010

NEW YORK, June 3 /PRNewswire/ — As of last week, Twitter’s 105 million users had collectively sent 15 billion tweets. Earlier this year, Facebook reached over 400 million active users — more members than the populations of Japan, Mexico and Russia, combined. Given these numbers, it’s not surprising that nearly two-thirds (64%) of online Americans use social media, and most social media users (84%) reveal information about themselves via social media channels.

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Not only are many Americans sharing updates about their life (43%), what they are currently doing (36%), and places they are going (31%), many are also revealing brand, product and company preferences. Specifically, about one-quarter are revealing their dissatisfaction with companies, brands or products (26%), talking about companies, brands or products they like (23%) or giving product reviews and recommendations (19%). In fact, one-third (34%) indicate they have used social media as an outlet to rant or rave about a company, brand or product.

These are some of the findings of the Harris Poll, conducted online between April 28 and 30, 2010, among 2,131 U.S. adults ages 18 and over.

However, it’s not just what people are sharing about themselves through social media; it’s why they are sharing. Nearly two in five online adults (38%) say they aim to influence others when expressing their preferences online and almost half (46%) feel they can be brutally honest on the Internet.

Sharing Brand, Company or Product Recommendations via Social Media

While online Americans aged 55 and older are less likely to use social media compared to younger Americans (43% of those 55 and older, versus 78% of 18-34 year olds, 71% of 35-44 year olds and 59% of 45-54 year olds), all age groups who use social media are equally likely to share their dissatisfaction with a company, brand or product via social media (25% of those 18-34 years old, 26% of those 35-44 years old, 25% of those 45-54 years old and 29% of those aged 55 and up).

And what people say online about companies, brands and products matters. In fact, nearly half of Americans who use social media say reviews about a particular company, brand or product from friends or people they follow on social networking websites influence them either a great deal or a fair amount (45%) – the same number as Americans who say reviews in newspaper or magazine articles influence them (46%).

Younger Generations Aim to Be Heard Online

Many people who express their preferences online do so with the intention of influencing others. Nearly two in five online adults (38%) say they aim to influence others when they express their opinions online, including nearly half of 18-34 year olds (45%). In fact, it seems 18-34 year olds are less hesitant to voice their opinions, as half (51%) say they feel like they can be brutally honest on the Internet, compared to two in five of both 45-54 year olds (41%) and those 55 and up (40%). Additionally, over two in five 18-34 year olds (44%) have used social media as an outlet to rant or rave about a company, brand or product — much more so than those 55 and up (16%).

So What?

While most Americans don’t reveal everything about themselves via social media, it can be a good place to start to gauge people’s preferences. In fact, even though they may not reveal everything, 83% say they know that by participating in social media, they are giving up some of their privacy. With this in mind, as the social networking world continues to grow, it will be increasingly important for companies to use social networks to better understand their audience.

Despite some of the differences between younger and older Americans in their use of social media, a majority of Americans (78%) agree that what they reveal about themselves on social networking sites is just a snapshot, not a complete portrait, of who they are. Because of this, companies cannot rely on monitoring social media alone to hear their customers’ voices. Rather, it is important for companies to get the 360 degree view of their target audiences through a variety of mediums, including social media sites.

TABLE 1

USES SOCIAL MEDIA

“Which of the following, if any, do you share about yourself through social media? When thinking about social media, please think of blogs, microblogs, message boards, comments you leave on articles, social networking websites, and photo and video sharing websites. Please select all that apply.”

Base: All online adults


                                                         Age

                                   Total   18-34   35-44   45-54      55+
                                      %       %       %       %      %
    Use social media (NET)             64      78      71      59     43
    I do not use social media          36      22      29      41     57
    -------------------------         ---     ---     ---     ---    ---

TABLE 2

PERSONAL SHARING IN SOCIAL MEDIA

“Which of the following, if any, do you share about yourself through social media? When thinking about social media, please think of blogs, microblogs, message boards, comments you leave on articles, social networking websites, and photo and video sharing websites. Please select all that apply.”

Base: All online adults who use social media*


                                                                 Age
                                               Total 18-34  35-44  45-54  55+
                                                 %      %     %      %    %
    Any (NET)                                     84     87    84     80  82
      Updates about my life                       43     52    46     37  28
      My age                                      43     47    39     41  40
      Pictures of what I've been doing            43     51    49     34  24
      What I'm currently doing                    36     45    40     21  27
      Places I am going                           31     38    33     23  21
      Links to articles I like                    30     33    30     26  29
      Recommendations about fun things to do      30     32    34     27  25
      TV and movie recommendations                29     36    28     22  23
      My dissatisfaction with a company, brand
       or product                                 26     25    26     25  29
      My political views                          25     24    22     26  30
      The companies, brands or products I like    23     23    23     26  21
      My religious beliefs                        23     27    17     22  22
      Product reviews and recommendations         19     18    18     18  24
      Information about myself that I wouldn't
       normally tell people face-to-face           6      7     6      5   2
      Embarrassing questions I have that I
       would never ask someone in person           4      5     5      2   1
      Other                                        8      8    10     10   4
      -----
      None                                        16     13    16     20  18
      ----                                       ---    ---   ---    --- ---

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

*64% of all online Americans use social media; 36% do not.

TABLE 3

SOCIAL MEDIA USES

“Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements.”

Base: Variable base


                                Agree   Strongly   Somewhat   Disagree
                                (NET)    Agree      Agree      (NET)
                                -----   --------   --------   --------
                                 %         %          %          %
                                ---       ---        ---        ---
    I understand that by
     participating in social
     media, I'm giving up
     part of my privacy            83         41         42          9
    ------------------------      ---        ---        ---        ---
    Base:  Adults who use
     social media
    ---------------------
    What I reveal about
     myself on social
     networking sites is just
     a snapshot, not a
     complete portrait, of
     who I am.                     78         45         33         11
    -------------------------     ---        ---        ---        ---
    Base:  Adults who use
     social media
    ---------------------
    I feel like I can be
     brutally honest on the
     Internet.                     46         16         30         36
    -----------------------       ---        ---        ---        ---
    Base:  All online adults
    ------------------------
    I aim to influence others
     when I express my
     preferences online.           38          9         30         40
    -------------------------     ---        ---        ---        ---
    Base:  All online adults
    ------------------------
    I have used social media
     as an outlet to rant or
     rave about a company,
     brand or product.             34         11         22         54
    ------------------------      ---        ---        ---        ---
    Base:  Adults who use
     social media
    ---------------------


                                Somewhat   Strongly       Not
                                Disagree   Disagree   applicable
                                --------   --------   ----------
                                   %          %            %
                                  ---        ---          ---
    I understand that by
     participating in social
     media, I'm giving up
     part of my privacy                6          3            8
    ------------------------         ---        ---          ---
    Base:  Adults who use
     social media
    ---------------------
    What I reveal about
     myself on social
     networking sites is just
     a snapshot, not a
     complete portrait, of
     who I am.                         7          4           11
    -------------------------        ---        ---          ---
    Base:  Adults who use
     social media
    ---------------------
    I feel like I can be
     brutally honest on the
     Internet.                        20         16           18
    -----------------------          ---        ---          ---
    Base:  All online adults
    ------------------------
    I aim to influence others
     when I express my
     preferences online.              22         18           22
    -------------------------        ---        ---          ---
    Base:  All online adults
    ------------------------
    I have used social media
     as an outlet to rant or
     rave about a company,
     brand or product.                19         35           13
    ------------------------         ---        ---          ---
    Base:  Adults who use
     social media
    ---------------------

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 4

SOCIAL MEDIA USES

“Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements.”

Percent saying “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree”

Base: Variable base


                                                                Age

                                            Total  18-34  35-44  45-54     55+
                                              %      %      %      %      %
    I understand that by participating in
     social media, I'm giving up part of
     my privacy                                83     85     87     78     82
    Base:  Adults who use social media
    What I reveal about myself on social
     networking sites is just a snapshot,
     not a complete portrait, of who I
     am.                                       78     81     82     73     71
    Base:  Adults who use social media
    I feel like I can be brutally honest
     on the Internet.                          46     51     50     41     40
    Base:  All online adults
    I aim to influence others when I
     express my preferences online.            38     45     39     37     29
    Base:  All online adults
    I have used social media as an outlet
     to rant or rave about a company,
     brand or product.                         34     44     35     25     16
    -------------------------------------     ---    ---    ---    ---    ---
    Base:  Adults who use social media
    ----------------------------------

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 5

INFLUENTIAL REVIEWS

“In general, how much do each of the following types of reviews influence your decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product?”

Base: Variable base


                              A great
                              deal/ A
                                fair
                               amount            A fair
                               (NET)      A      amount
                                         great
                                         deal
                                 %        %        %
    Reviews from family
     members or friends             71      39       33
    Base:  All online
     adults
    Reviews in newspapers
     or magazine articles           46      12       34
    Base:  All online
     adults
    Reviews from friends
     or people I follow on
     social networking
     websites                       45      16       29
    Base:  Adults who use
     social media
    Reviews on blogs or
     message boards                 33       7       26
    Base:  Adults who use
     social media
    Reviews from
     celebrities                    10       2        8
    Base:  All online
     adults


                                A
                             little/
                               Not              Not
                              at all            at        Not
                              (NET)      A      all   applicable
                                       little
                               %         %       %        %
    Reviews from family
     members or friends           24       17     8            4
    Base:  All online
     adults
    Reviews in newspapers
     or magazine articles         50       32    17            4
    Base:  All online
     adults
    Reviews from friends
     or people I follow on
     social networking
     websites                     51       29    21            5
    Base:  Adults who use
     social media
    Reviews on blogs or
     message boards               61       28    33            7
    Base:  Adults who use
     social media
    Reviews from
     celebrities                  84       19    65            5
    Base:  All online
     adults

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 6

INFLUENTIAL REVIEWS

“In general, how much do each of the following types of reviews influence your decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product?”

Percent saying “a great deal” or “a fair amount”

Base: All online adults


                                                              Age
                                          Total 18-34  35-44   45-54   55+
                                            %      %      %       %   %
    Reviews from family members or
     friends                                 71     69     76      71  71
    Base:  All online adults
    Reviews in newspapers or magazine
     articles                                46     45     48      48  44
    Base:  All online adults
    Reviews from friends or people I
     follow on social networking websites    45     50     44      41  37
    Base:  Adults who use social media
    Reviews on blogs or message boards       33     41     35      28  18
    Base:  Adults who use social media
    Reviews from celebrities                 10     17      8       8   5
    ------------------------                ---    ---    ---     --- ---
    Base:  All online adults
    ------------------------

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between April 28 and 30, 2010 among 2,131 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. These data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult online population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll® #74, June 3, 2010

By Whitney Heckathorne, Marketing Manager, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.


    Press Contact:
    Corporate
     Communications
    Harris Interactive
    212-539-9600
    press@harrisinteractive.net

SOURCE Harris Interactive


Source: newswire



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