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Will Negative Emotions Associated with Social Media Drive Down Time Spent in 2013?
Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 | Comments | Latest Posts

Emotions associated with social mediaThe 2012 Nielsen Report on the State of Social reflects an expansion in social, including an increase in not only the number of devices we use to get online, but also the amount of time we spend there. Minutes spent on various devices were up in July 2012 over July 2011, with minutes spent on mobile apps doubling–a huge increase. The audience for mobile web and mobile apps rose more than 80%, and time spent on social media doubled on both the web and apps. And while there are many social platforms, there’s obviously a clear leader: Facebook has three times the audience of its next largest social competitor (Blogger).

Perhaps one of the most interesting elements of the report is the mix of emotions associated with social media (pictured). Most of the emotions may appear positive upon first glance, but a closer review shows a number of negative emotions: jealous, angry, overwhelmed, sad, anxious, and wasted time. The positive emotions outnumber the negative in both size (presumably correlated to their occurrence, though that’s not noted specifically) and number, but the presence of so much negativity may have implications for the future of social. Will social media continue producing negative emotions in many of its users? And will that lead to a reduction in use, or a proliferation of negativity as bummer status updates are shared more widely?

A connection between advertisements and social network anxiety isn’t clear (or even suggested in the report), but I personally wonder whether one exists. Being bombarded with consumerist messages is trying at any time, and can be even more angering when you’re just on a network attempting to connect with friends. Nielsen data suggest 33% of social users say ads on social are more annoying than ads elsewhere, and just 17% feel more connected to brands that reach them through social. And although 26% of social media users “liked” an ad after viewing it, just 14% purchased products, calling into some question the often-presumed relationship between likes and purchases.

The long and short of it is a familiar story: that no company or organization can ignore social any longer. How are you taking advantage of social–and making sure people leave your site with positive emotions?

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