A new study which sought to examine women's experience with social media was launched by Barna Group in collaboration with Proverbs 31 Ministries. In the survey, women reported mixed experiences in their interaction with social media. While it helped them to bond with their friends, excessive interaction with social media often brought about feelings of judgement, loneliness, jealousy and comparison with others, the study found.
A significant majority reported positive feelings about social media. About 81 percent of women said they felt connected to friends through social media, 58 percent said they felt encouraged, and another 43 percent said they felt energized.
Some 56 percent of women said that social media had a positive impact on their lives. Around 15 percent said it had a negative impact, and about 30 percent considered social media to have a 'neutral' influence in their lives.
Nearly 50 percent of the women said they often felt bored after getting hooked to social media. Some 35 percent said spending time of social media led them to want to change something about their lives, and 24 percent felt as if they are missing out on something. Another 21 percent admitted to feeling lonely, while 17 percent reported feeling jealous of something about other people or their lives after using social media.
More women reported having negative feelings, though rarely, after using social media. About 60 percent of the women said that they sometimes feel like changing something about their lives. About 45 percent said they have felt lonely after using social media at few occasions in the past. As many as 42 percent said they rarely, if ever, feel positively encouraged after hovering on social media.
Some 70 percent of the women reported feeling one of the negative emotions such as jealousy or loneliness after using social media at least at some point in time.
As many as 38 percent women said that the negative impact of social media include instances of wasted time, and 27 percent said social media distracted them from work. About 14 percent of women said that through social media they ended up judging other people, and 12 percent thought that it leads them to compare themselves with other people.
"Social media is here to stay," said Roxanne Stone, editor in chief of Barna Group. "The big question remains: in what ways is it transforming our lives? And, perhaps an equally important question is, how are we navigating those transformations for better and worse?"
"This study reveals that most women appreciate the positive effects of social media and count it as an overall benefit to their lives," Stone continued. "However, significant minorities report negative emotions that come alongside those benefits. From boredom, to loneliness, to envy, social media usage bears a cost... There are so many benefits to social media. But, while we embrace those positive benefits, we must also learn to be aware of the ways our own social media habits are impacting us personally through becoming wise and discerning social media users."