Millennial Women Addicted to Facebook -- Or Not?

BlogHer Original Post

Between May 27 and June 3, 2010, the Oxygen Media Insights Group commissioned Lightspeed Research to survey a nationally representative sample of 1,605 U.S. adults who use social media. The survey included questions about consumers' usage and attitudes toward social media. And? Millennial women like Facebook. A lot.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  In this photo illustration the Social networking site Facebook is displayed on a laptop screen on March 25, 2009 in London, England. The British government has made proposals which would force Social networking websites such as Facebook to pass on details of users, friends and contacts to help fight terrorism.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Millennial women like Facebook. A lot. That's the conclusion of a study released July 6th by Oxygen Media. They like it so much that:

  • 39% of women 18-34 are "self-proclaimed" Facebook addicts
  • 34% check Facebook as soon as they wake up -- before they brush their teeth or use the bathroom
  • 26% get up in the middle of the night to read text messages
  • 37% have fallen asleep with PDA in hand

Oxygen characterizes this behavior as "a fixed dependence to social media networks." In other words, addiction.

While I admit to being unsurprised that millennial women use Facebook a lot, I'm not sure these numbers qualify as addiction. For a metric to hold real weight, it has to be in the 50 percent range. So let's look at the numbers another way:

  • 61% of millennial women do not call themselves Facebook addicts
  • 66% of online women ages 18-34 are smart enough to pee before they check Facebook
  • 74% don't feel the need to check text messages in the middle of the night
  • 63% don't fall asleep PDA in hand.

Addiction? Not so much. The majority of the millennials seem to have retained a certain amount of common sense. However, there were some meaty nuggets in the study.

Fifty-seven percent admit they talk to others more online than face-to-face, and 48 percent find out about news through Facebook more often than traditional media.Not surprising, but nice confirmation of the the population's shift to online media. BlogHer's 2010 Social Media Matters research reported that 73 percent of the US online population are frequent social media users and Facebook has eclipsed traditional media -- even television -- as a media destination for the general online population.

Online media have replaced some percentage of face-to-face conversations and traditional media use for nearly everyone who goes online, in every demographic. For one thing, there are more people to talk with than we would ever meet "in real life." Not to mention that, for some, being able to talk online IS the reason they are online in the first place. Think about the WWII generation. Connecting with family and far-off friends is a primary reason they join social networks.

The frenemy factor. According to the study, 58 percent of young women use Facebook to keep up with frenemies and 46 percent think its okay to be friends with someone you don't like. I just find this weird, and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

However, this frenemy thing may go hand in hand with the fact that 78% say its okay to reveal TV spoilers in your Facebook status. I can imagine that anyone who does that has a few frenemies, especially if they spoiled Lost.

For the millennial generation -- male and female -- Facebook is a datebook, and I don't mean calendar. It's the modern little black book. Fifty percent of single women 18-34 and 65% of single men think it's okay to date other singles they meet through Facebook. It's also the modern private detective and Dear Jeanne (less so John) letter rolled into one. It's okay to:

  • Keep tabs on a spouse/partner via their online accounts (42% of men and 49% of women)
  • Break up with someone through Facebook (24% men, 9% women) or Twitter (31% men, 14% women)

Online privacy is crumbling, and except for not trusting Facebook with private information (only 44% of women 18-34 do), the millennial women don't seem to care. It's okay to:

  • Post photos of themselves visibly intoxicated (42%)
  • Post photos of kids (86%)
  • Tweet your location (56% of millennial Twitter users)
  • Be friends with someone you don't know in real life (50%)
  • Post photos of people kissing (79%) or making obscene gestures (32%)

Even 88% of young moms 18-34 think it's okay to post pictures of their children on Facebook.

While the millennials realize that Facebook isn't private -- 89% of women 18-24 know that they shouldn't post anything on Facebook that they wouldn't want their parents to see -- they just don't seem to care that much. I find that the most disturbing result in the study, and I would love to know how older age groups would respond to these questions. And let's check back in 10 years and find out if this group's attitudes shift as they age.

About the research

Between May 27 and June 3, 2010, the Oxygen Media Insights Group commissioned Lightspeed Research to survey a nationally representative sample of 1,605 U.S. adults who use social media. The survey included questions about consumers' usage and attitudes toward social media.

Some other coverage of the research:

_
Susan Getgood blogs at Marketing Roadmaps, Snapshot Chronicles and Snapshot Chronicles Roadtrip.

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.