What is the Social and Emotional Climate of Social NetworkingSites:Report

10th Feb 2012
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Often we focus on the numbers and interactions on social networking sites and not the perception or the emotional aspect involved. A report by The Pew Research Center looks into the social and emotional climate of SNS. 85% of Social Networking Sites (SNS) using adults say that their experience on the sites is that people are mostly kind, compared with 5% who say people they observe on the sites are mostly unkind and another 5% who say their answer depends on the situation according to a report by The Pew Research Center.

This report is based on the findings of a survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from July 25 to August 26, 2011, among a sample of 2,260 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,344) and cell phone (916, including 425 without a landline phone).


Some interesting findings from the report:

  • 68% of SNS users said they had an experience that made them feel good about themselves.
  • 61% had experiences that made them feel closer to another person. (Many said they had both experiences.)
  • 39% of SNS-using adults say they frequently see acts of generosity by other SNS users and another 36% say they sometimes see others behaving generously and helpfully. By comparison, 18% of SNS-using adults say they see helpful behavior “only once in a while” and 5% say they never see generosity exhibited by others on social networking sites

Notable proportions of SNS users do witness bad behavior on those sites and nearly a third have experienced some negative outcomes from their experiences on social networking sites. Some 49% of SNS-using adults said they have seen mean or cruel behavior displayed by others at least occasionally. And 26% said they had experienced at least one of the bad outcomes that were queried in the survey. Those bad outcomes were:

  • 15% of adult SNS users said they had an experience on the site that ended their friendship with someone.
  • 12% of adult SNS users had an experience that resulted in a face-to-face argument or confrontation with someone.
  • 11% of adult SNS users had an experience on the site that caused a problem with their family.
  • 3% of SNS-using adults said they had gotten into a physical fight with someone based on an experience they had on the site.
  • 3% of adult SNS users said their use of the site had gotten them in trouble at work because of something that happened on the site.

Click here to view the entire report.

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