Google ‘ How does social media make you feel? ’ and the results are dominated by ‘depressed’ ‘lonely’ ‘unpopular’ and generally bad implications for the self-esteem of social media users.
At RealityMine, we thought we’d take a look at the reported emotions of 2,143 American panelists who use at least one social media app on their mobile device, using our Touchpoints eDiary and passive mobile data. We looked at how social media users feel by examining the Positive vs Negative emotions reported by our panelists.
In contrast to the surveys that show the connection between social media usage and depression, our data shows that the emotions experienced when using social media are mainly positive or neutral. Of all the emotions reported while social networking, 32% were positive, 45% neutral and 23% negative.
The main negative feelings experienced while social networking were ‘tired’ (7%), ‘exhausted’ (4%) and ‘bored’ (3%). A look at the times when people use social media while feeling tired or exhausted helps us to understand these figures – the main peaks are found at 9:30PM and 10:30PM when people are likely to feel tired anyway. It’s also been discussed that social media makes people feel lonelier, however, our data shows that loneliness makes up less than one percent of all the emotions reported.
Among the positive emotions we saw, ‘happy’ (17%) is clearly the most reported one. Social media users are also around two times more likely to feel confident than stressed, worried, sad or lonely.
Is there a gender difference?
Neutral emotions are quite equally experienced by male and female social media users. However, clear differences can be seen when comparing positive and negative feelings between genders, which is shown in the table below. Men are much more likely to experience positive feelings (35%) than negative feelings (20%) while women experience positive feelings only slightly more than negative feelings (29% positive vs. 25% negative). Women are also more likely to feel tired, stressed or worried than men, while men feel confident more than twice as often than women.