For many Americans, social media has plenty of benefits, but the freewheeling nature of the Net provides plenty of potential for social blunders.
According to a recent poll by YouGov Omnibus, 57 percent of Americans who use social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, regret having posted something.
“Hasty responses that make you sound foolish are the biggest social media regrets,” the poll found, and the problem has grown since 2013 (the last time the poll was conducted).
So what’s the biggest culprit in spurring regrettable behavior online? According to the YouGov poll, it’s being busy.
Busyness, the poll indicates, seems to cause people to hastily chime in on conversations they haven’t had time to fully consider. The ramifications of which, according to YouGov’s Anne Gammon, can do some serious damage to “important relationships.”
But why are people even looking at social media when they’re busy?
According to an analysis of social media use by bitly in 2012, the hours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. are the highest for social media use, meaning that most people are actually using social media during work hours (after lunch, even). And, according to a report by Social Media Today from 2013, 30 percent of all Americans use social media while at work for at least one hour each day.
No wonder people on Facebook are a little distracted; they’re supposed to be working.
But the distractions don’t end once the 9 to 5 workday is finished. As I wrote earlier this month, psychologists are becoming increasingly concerned with the impact the overuse of media devices is having on children.
“Young children learn by example, often copying the behavior of adults,” The New York Times’ Jane E. Brody wrote on July 13. “I often see youngsters in strollers or on foot with a parent or caretaker who is chatting or texting on a cellphone instead of conversing with the children in their charge.”
And while there is a variety of things on their phones or tablets that may distract parents, social media is certainly a likely culprit.
Fear of distraction, it seems, goes both ways.
JJ Feinauer is a writer for Deseret News National. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: jjfeinauer.