social media researchAre you addicted to Facebook or Twitter? As social media continues to grow, details are starting to surface about people’s behaviors and consumption of information in the social space.

As marketers learn more about the “how, when and where” of social users, we can better understand how to optimize our marketing efforts.

Here are two studies that drill down on “how we act” and “what we want” in the world of social networking.

#1: Are We Addicted to Social Media?

A recent independent study by Retrevo Gadgetology revealed some interesting stats about our love for social media sites. The study asked 1,000 users the “when, where and what” regarding social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The stats suggest we just might be completely addicted to social networking (raise your hand if you tweet from the bathroom!).

It comes as no surprise that the “under age 25” users were more active during off hours.  Here’s a breakdown of nighttime and morning activity:

Do you check/update Facebook and Twitter after you go to bed?

Yes, anytime I wake up during the night.

  • Under 25: 19%
  • Over 25:  11%

Yes, sometimes when I wake up during the night.

  • Under 25: 27%
  • Over 25:  20%

Yes, as soon as I wake up in the morning.

  • Under 25:  32%
  • Over 25:  21%

Will Twitter and Facebook take over the morning news show?

Maybe not anytime soon, but 16% of those under age 25 and 15% of those over 25 turn to their social sites for their morning news. If this trend continues, the morning news as we know it today could see some major changes.

Are iPhone users more addicted to social media sites?

iPhone users were extremely active on social sites at all hours of the day.  The study does not give solid reasons for this, but speculates, “We don’t know if it’s the device making it so easy to do social media things or the personality of an iPhone owner, but iPhone owners stand out in this study as more involved with social media; they use Facebook and Twitter more often and in more places.”

Here are some other stats worth checking out:

  • 56%: Social media users check Facebook at least once a day.
  • 12%: Social media users check Facebook every couple of hours.
  • 40%:  Respondents who said they didn’t mind being interrupted for a message.
  • 32%:  Respondents who said using the sites was not off limits while eating a meal.
  • 7%: Respondents who said they’d check out a message during an intimate moment.

When asked about being interrupted by an electronic message, here’s what respondents said:

With the growing popularity of social media, there’s no doubt we’ll continue to see a rise in many of these (sometimes strange) behaviors.  Perhaps we should be asking ourselves, when is it all too much?

#2:  What Do Social Media Users Really Want?

Here’s some useful data for marketers and brands looking to leverage the power of social media.  A recent analysis of 287,090 impressions by the online advertising network Chitika delivered some interesting behavior stats for four popular networking sites, Facebook, Twitter, Digg and MySpace. The study compared the genres of sites that receive traffic from the four social sites.

As many have already speculated, the users from each site have very specific taste in the type of information they consume.  According to Chitika, “Facebook and Twitter users want news, Digg users have more eclectic taste, and MySpace users want to hear primarily about celebrities and video games.”  Interestingly, Twitter users actually were the largest consumers of news sites at 47%, compared to Facebook’s 28%.

Here is a breakdown of each genre’s popularity with the social sites:

As you can see, the universal interest across all networks is celebrity and entertainment.  Also, MySpace is the only site to have a complete absence of the news genre.

By continuing to study user intent and traffic source by tracking the visits to different sites, marketers and brands are better able to create content that satisfies the interests of the social network user.  This can be powerful data for any marketer when applied intelligently.

So now it’s your turn. When looking at the social media “addiction” stats, do you see yourself demonstrating any of these behaviors?  Would you consider yourself obsessed, mildly addicted or a fairly balanced user?  And when it comes to the kind of information you want, what genre do you gravitate to most?  Share below—we love comments.

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  • I admit, from Twitter I learned a lot of most popular news stories from all around the world since I got no access to TV, but I can’t imagine a morning starting from checking social networks. Being there, done that, I don’t want to go back…

    But who knows what will happen when I’ll finally put my hand on some mobile devices…

  • CassiM

    This is an interesting break down. I’m actually surprised at the percentages concerning people looking for news related content on all social media fronts, especially when a lot of celebrity gossip tends to trend so high on Twitter. I also wonder what constitutes as “other”.

  • Thanks for sharing these very interesting stats. I don’t think I am addicted to social media as much as some people are. Every time I am online though I do check the my “sites”. I think the reason why iPhone users are so interactive with social media is for two reasons. Mobility and the applications allow them easier access, since I don’t have smart phone I always have to turn on my computer and so on…

  • Kate

    Some interesting stats! I’m not one of the addicted users, but I definitely fall under the news and how to genre for Twitter! Twitter makes it so easy to learn about new things!
    I agree with Ralph – technology like the iPhone enable people to access social media anytime and anywhere with ease. I’d certainly check Facebook and Twitter more often if it was a simple matter of selecting an app. on my phone with one touch!

  • I have a multi adiction with social media and Hi I’m John Paul and I’m a Texting/Social Media

  • Great article and interesting break down. Well, social media really plays a big impact today specially for businesses because they are able to advertise their products and services plus the latest updates. Social media also helps saves time and money.

  • timtasker

    Great data Amy, I love your articles!
    That is tremendous data for my business research. Also, entrepreneurs can use it to evaluate business strategies to go about social media and actually measure their returns on investment (money + time). Join the conversations on!

  • # 32%: Respondents who said using the sites was not off limits while eating a meal.
    # 7%: Respondents who said they’d check out a message during an intimate moment.

    And you say the following: As marketers learn more about the “how, when and where” of social users, we can better understand how to optimize our marketing efforts.

    And after all this extremely disconcerting news, you say that you want to use this information to
    further disconnect people from their world and people around them?

    Instead, this should be a WAKE-UP CALL about how sick we have become.

    We need to do less of social media, not more! Or at least learn to have some boundaries with it.
    Just because a tool exists does not mean that people will use it wisely. They do not.

    We are in faux contact in faux relationships and sooner or later that (psychic) bill will come due.

  • I agree–ever since I put the apps on my iPhone, I am a bit more addicted to my social sites. I confess!

  • Cheryl

    What’s really interesting is that the “other” universal interest across all 4 network is, well “Other” with quite substantial percentages. So what is “other” anyway?

  • Somehow, it was inevitable that social media will influence behavior in profound ways — for good or bad. Can you picture support groups springing up everywhere for recovering SM addicts?? Oh, I bet some market-savvy psychiatrists are already positioning themselves for the potential uptick in business from the fallout. Or maybe I’m just indulging my cynical side on this beautiful Friday afternoon!

    They should’ve included a category of “fringe users” in the survey — for those users who refuse to be sucked into subscribing to every app, latest mobile device, and the must-be-in-the-know craze. The large “other” finding is perhaps indcative of the amount of fluff (a.k.a. not worth your time) out there.

  • Awsome Stats!!!

    I love the fact that twitter is news oriented cause that’s what I’m “tweeting” about!!!. I hate people posting: I woke up, I’m brushing my teeth and so on…Really Nice Article Amy!!!

  • Interesting stats, and scary numbers. I am increasingly interested in what social media can offer. Living in Brazil, the numbers are much smaller and for that, so are the benefits. I wonder if these developments are timeless or contemporary.

  • SME – shame on you to publicize such misinformation. It’s not only wrong to falsely classify this as addiction, it potentially hurts those with real problems by highlighting symptoms and not actual causes of mental disorders. More here:

  • douglasjd

    Not surprising on the iPhone stat. The designers and developers in our shop all have iPhones and most definitely seem addicted to updating Facebook and Twitter all day long. In fact some of them use the mobile device exclusively for updating FB. They don’t use a browser ever for it.

  • I must admit, I still like the morning news over social sites…. But you are right, my iPhone might change my mind! Thanks for stopping by, Nathan.

  • Hi, Manuel. Thanks for the comment. I agree with you–those posts are not needed! There’s too much great content out there to waste a tweet like that!

  • Welcome, John Paul 🙂 Admitting your problem is the first step. . . 🙂

  • Hi Adam,

    I read your article and you make some good points. But come on, lighten up a little bit.

    There is no sham in declaring that perhaps many people are addicted to social media in an unhealthy way. In fact many people self declare themselves addicted to social media (many in response to this article on our Fanpage and Twitter).

    This has been extensively written about for more than a year. Here are a few examples:

    Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote a year ago for MarketingProfs on the dark side of Twitter:

    “Twitter Crack: Yes, It’s Addictive

    With the slowing economy, people with a little time on their hands are finding Twitter a great discovery tool—and a great big addiction.

    Marketing consultant Rickey Gold explained: ‘I spent way too much time exploring and tweeting. I was becoming addicted to Twitter and not focusing on what I needed to do. I got behind on client projects; something I never do and something no business owner should ever do!'”

    The high number of views on this YouTube parody on social media addiction confirms many people can relate with it:


  • rynal

    great study Amy,

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  • Farshisalu

    “I was a social network addict before 1/07/2011 but now I have deactivated my facebook account thanks

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  • Rogin

    Addiction depends on person’s perspective rite? this is what I learnt from this guy here:

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  • James Meyer

    I help businesses utilize and integrate Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+  by managing online assets, branding and reputations to maximize online marketing potential.

  • James Meyer

    I help businesses utilize and integrate Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+  by managing online assets, branding and reputations to maximize online marketing potential.

  • Belal H. Patwary

    quiet hot

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