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Are we addicted to social media?

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 25 Apr 2010

A new study from the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA) at the University of Maryland suggests that we are.

Thanks to @Jim_Croft I came across a study by the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA) at the University of Maryland that looked at university students’ use of social media and how they got by without it over a 24 hour period. The study concluded that “... most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unable to be without their media links to the world.” They felt disconnected with family and friends and anxious about not keeping up with the news, whatever that may be “One student said he realized that he suddenly ‘had less information than everyone else, whether it be news, class information, scores, or what happened on Family Guy'". More details about this research can be found here.

Is this surprising? No. In a study we did in 2007 looking at how 18-30 year olds used the web, those who were incredibly active online (such as creating web pages, using social media, active bloggers, etc) used the language of addiction to describe their internet usage – the net was seen as a “… never ending vortex of information and interest and it’s easy to get lost for hours!”. In other work we did with school students we asked them to complete the following sentence – Not being able to access the web is like not being able to ..., with one respondent saying “Walk, breathe, talk, eat, survive, socialise”. More of their comments can be found on the blog post Kids talk about the Internet.

The University of Maryland study is essential reading . As mentioned on the blog post Visitors to the Australian Museum Use Social Media we are currently studying these trends in more detail. When I had an initial look at the data, Facebook was clearly being used on at least a daily basis by the majority of our visitors...

As I’ve said many times before – museums ignore these trends at their peril. More to follow!

3 comments

Lynda Kelly - 10.04 AM, 25 April 2010

Hey, just checked Twitter again and the Museum has over 500 followers - not bad for no promotion whatsoever (apart from my email sign off...).

Lynda Kelly - 10.04 AM, 25 April 2010

Russ - it's called multitasking, and yes I have both tweeted and Facebooked this!

Russ Weakley - 9.04 AM, 25 April 2010

 I lost interest half way through this post as I had to check twitter and facebook. Plus update FourSquared. Can you send us a tweet that summarises the post above?

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