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Press Contact:Corporate CommunicationsHarris Interactive212-539-9600press@harrisinteractive.netThe Pros, Cons and Learning...
the way they intend, but only one in five say they are very confident (18%). While a quarter of social mediausers are not ...
TABLE 1B                                                 SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFITS              "Have you ever had the followi...
TABLE 2B                                            SOCIAL MEDIA CONSEQUENCES          “And, have you ever had the followi...
TABLE 4                                           CONFIDENCE IN PRIVACY SETTINGS  “How confident are you that the privacy ...
About Harris InteractiveHarris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research...
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Harris Poll Social Media Online Privacy 2011 01 18

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Poll on benefits and deficits of social media by age demographic

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Harris Poll Social Media Online Privacy 2011 01 18

  1. 1. Press Contact:Corporate CommunicationsHarris Interactive212-539-9600press@harrisinteractive.netThe Pros, Cons and Learning Curve of Social MediaAmericans have experienced good and bad from social media, believe bad can becountered with privacy settingsNEW YORK, N.Y. – January 18, 2011 – Social media has opened the door, or more accurately, many doors, toincreasingly numerous ways for people to interact with others, customize their online experiences and receivepositive, enriching benefits from their activity therein. In fact, two in five Americans say that they have receiveda good suggestion for something to try as a result of their use of social media (40%), 15% say they have made aconnection regarding a job opportunity, and one in ten say they have found a new apartment or house throughtheir social media use (9%).These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,331 adults surveyed online between December 6 and 13,2010 by Harris Interactive.While a majority of U.S. adults are using social media (65%), and a similar number say they have received apositive benefit from its use, adoption is not consistent across the board. Rather, younger Americans claimpositive benefits as a result of their social media use much more often than do older adults. For example, amajority of Echo Boomers (those 18-33) say they have received a positive suggestion for something to try fromtheir activity on social media (59%), compared to 44% of Gen Xers (those 34-45), one third of Baby Boomers(those 46-64) (34%), and just one in five Matures (those 65 and older) (19%). Similarly, one quarter of EchoBoomers have found a job opportunity through social media (24%), while only one in ten Baby Boomers say thesame (11%).Not All Fun and GamesDespite all of the benefits people are receiving from their social media use, similar numbers say they havesuffered negative consequences from this activity, such as the two in five social media users who say they havebeen offended by posts, comments or pictures they’ve seen (43%) and the quarter who say that unintendedpersons have viewed links or comments they’ve posted (26%). Fewer social media users say they have sufferedthe more serious consequences of getting in trouble with school or work, or losing a potential job opportunitybecause of comments or pictures they posted online (7% for both). Despite younger Americans receivingbenefits from social media use more often than older adults, younger Americans also suffer the consequences ofsocial media use at a greater rate. This may, in part, be due to younger Americans greater use of social mediaoverall, which could expose them to both the benefits and consequences of what’s currently available.Lessons LearnedAs more people use social media and the services continue to expand, the potential benefits of use grow, as dothe possible consequences. As a result, social media networks are increasingly offering privacy settings tocombat the negative experiences some users have already experienced, and to prevent others from takingplace. When social media users were asked if potentially negative experiences can be prevented through theuse of these privacy settings, over three quarters agreed that they can be (78%) with three in ten stronglyagreeing (28%). In addition, 71% of social media users are confident that their own privacy settings operate in©2011 Harris Interactive All rights reserved.
  2. 2. the way they intend, but only one in five say they are very confident (18%). While a quarter of social mediausers are not confident in their privacy settings (25%), it seems that almost all social media users are at leasttrying to use these options for security assurance—only 5% of social media users say they do not use any privacysettings at all. Similarly to the other areas of social media explored, younger adults who use social media feelmore strongly both that privacy settings can prevent negative consequences (82% of Echo Boomers say this,compared to 70% of Matures) and that they are confident in their own privacy settings (78% of Echo Boomers,compared to 61% of Baby Boomers).So What?Social media services have brought both good and bad for users. However, newly introduced privacy settingsare now helping to prevent potential harm associated with social media use. As social media users becomemore adept at understanding the nuances of how things work online and these privacy controls, hopefully theywill become even more successful at managing their experiences, to the point where the positive benefitseclipse the negative consequences, and users can take more advantage of what’s offered online with littleconcern for potential dangers. But, at the same time, there is also a possibility that as more people use socialmedia, and do so casually, that they will become less careful with their settings and the 7% who have sufferedmore serious consequences will grow. It’s up to each and every user. TABLE 1A SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFITS "Have you ever had the following positive, tangible benefits, from being active on social media?”Base: All adults Not applicable Yes Yes, Yes, on No, never – I do not (NET) frequently occasion use social media % % % % % Received a good suggestion for 40 7 33 25 35 something to try Made a connection regarding a job 15 3 12 50 35 opportunity Found a new apartment or house 9 3 6 56 35Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.2
  3. 3. TABLE 1B SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFITS "Have you ever had the following positive, tangible benefits, from being active on social media?” Summary of those saying “yes, frequently” or “yes, on occasion”Base: All adults Generation Total Echo Baby Gen X Matures Boomers Boomers (34-45) (65+) (18-33) (46-64) % % % % % Received a good suggestion for 40 59 44 34 19 something to try Made a connection regarding a job 15 24 19 11 4 opportunity Found a new apartment or house 9 17 9 5 2Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding. TABLE 2A SOCIAL MEDIA CONSEQUENCES “And, have you ever had the following negative experience as a result of being active on social media?”Base: Social media users Yes Yes, Yes, on No, never (NET) frequently occasion % % % % Been offended by posts, comments or 43 8 35 57 pictures I’ve seen Unintended persons viewed links I 26 6 20 74 posted or comments I made Got in trouble with school or work 7 4 3 93 because of pictures posted of me online Lost a potential job opportunity because of pictures or posts I’ve made 7 4 3 93 onlineNote: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding3
  4. 4. TABLE 2B SOCIAL MEDIA CONSEQUENCES “And, have you ever had the following negative experience as a result of being active on social media?” Summary of those saying “yes, frequently” or “yes, on occasion”Base: Social media users Generation Gender Total Echo Baby Gen X Matures Boomers Boomers Male Female (34-45) (65+) (18-33) (46-64) % % % % % % % Been offended by posts, 43 51 39 43 28 38 48 comments or pictures I’ve seen Unintended persons viewed links I posted or comments I 26 37 29 17 13 30 22 made Got in trouble with school or work because of pictures posted 7 12 9 3 - 10 4 of me online Lost a potential job opportunity because of pictures or posts I’ve 7 11 8 3 - 10 3 made onlineNote: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding TABLE 3 PRIVACY SETTINGS “Do you agree or disagree that potentially negative experiences resulting from social media activity can be prevented through the use of privacy settings?”Base: Social media users Generation Total Echo Baby Gen X Matures Boomers Boomers (34-45) (65+) (18-33) (46-64) % % % % % Agree (NET) 78 82 81 74 70 Strongly agree 28 34 28 24 25 Somewhat agree 49 48 52 50 45 Disagree (NET) 14 13 13 16 16 Somewhat disagree 10 10 10 9 12 Strongly disagree 4 2 3 7 4 Not at all sure 8 5 6 10 14Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding4
  5. 5. TABLE 4 CONFIDENCE IN PRIVACY SETTINGS “How confident are you that the privacy settings selected on your social media account(s) function in the way that you would like?”Base: Social media users Generation Total Echo Baby Gen X Matures Boomers Boomers (34-45) (65+) (18-33) (46-64) % % % % % Confident (NET) 71 78 76 61 68 Very confident 18 24 22 11 8 Somewhat confident 53 53 54 50 59 Not Confident (NET) 25 19 20 33 27 Not very confident 18 16 15 23 17 Not at all confident 7 3 5 10 10 Not applicable – I do not 5 3 4 6 6 use any privacy settingsNote: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to roundingMethodologyThis Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 6 to 13, 2010 among 2,331adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income wereweighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensityscore weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources oferror which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, errorassociated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-surveyweighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they aremisleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure,unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published pollscome close to this ideal.Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in HarrisInteractive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Becausethe sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates oftheoretical sampling error can be calculated.These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior writtenpermission of Harris Interactive.J39118Q805, 810, 815, 820 ®The Harris Poll #6, January 18, 2011By Samantha Braverman, Senior Project Researcher, Harris Interactive5
  6. 6. About Harris InteractiveHarris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology,and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Polland for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industriesincluding healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance,media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territoriesthrough our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms,Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. Formore information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.6

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