Americans Are Addicted to Social Networks

Published On February 18, 2014 | Tech Business

Americans spend nearly a third of their Internet browsing time on social networking sites. And this comes as no surprise. The United States is home to the largest and most popular social networks on Earth: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. So what’s the value of these networks? Are they just platforms for sharing self-portraits and lunch menus?

Facebook

Ah, yes, who doesn’t know Facebook? You don’t have to love it and, in fact, you probably complain a lot about it. However, statistics say that if you’re an American you probably use it. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of Americans are on Facebook, but these numbers can be significantly higher within particular age groups.

While 36 percent of users are frustrated by the information regurgitation that happens on Facebook, they’re still logging on consistently. Despite all the complaints against Facebook – from privacy to evil conglomerate – the majority of users check their Facebook at least once a day, a frequency that reflects Facebook’s undying value: its ability to create and maintain strong bonds between people.

As CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said, the networks sole aim is to make the world more open and connected.

How and when to use it: Unless you’re a using a branded company page, Facebook should be used for personal purposes like maintaining meaningful connections with others. Don’t overload your friends with updates but do share the things that are important to you and start conversations around those topics.

Twitter

Twitter has been getting an increasing amount of attention since its initial public offering earlier this year. Only 18 percent of Americans are on the platform, but Twitter revolutionized online communication since it was founded in 2006.

Twitter has become a camera reel for news, activism and politics (among almost every other topic imaginable). The founders take free speech and transparency seriously, and these core values have gotten the company into controversy from time to time.

How and when to use it: Twitter is a good learning ground and is great for quick professional networking. Whether you want the inside scoop on the Egyptian Revolution, understand the day-to-day of a tech entrepreneur or get to know a political candidate up for election, Twitter can help you do that.

Use it as a professional to quickly share tips and tricks of your trade, useful articles and follow and network with other professionals who might not be immediately or physically accessible to you. You’d be surprised at the caliber of professionals that respond to your Tweets!

Pinterest

Pinterest, by far, has demonstrated the most growth since it was founded in 2010. It experienced 125 percent more traffic in 2013 than in 2012, with no sign of slowing down. The site recently overtook e-mail as the most popular way for people to share information.

Hardcore Pinterest users have cited its addictive natures, spending hours browsing the millions of “pins” – small, clickable photos of everything from bridal gowns to health tips to inspirational quotes. What is Pinterest’s core value? The ability to organize and share the things you love.

How and when to use it: Use Pinterest to gain inspiration for a new workout program or even your wedding, plan a new DIY project or find new recipes. And then, give back. Share all the inspiring things you find online and spread creative cheer worldwide.

The next time you catch yourself browsing one of these addictive social networking sites, know that you’re not alone.

Which site are you addicted to most and why?

– By Jennifer Thayer

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