In recent months, has social media become less of a “highlight reel” and more of a forum to express opinions and take action on current events & hot button issues? We recently surveyed 1,184 of our members to determine whether they’ve leaned into online outreach.
A solid 60% of our respondents indicated they have taken an action online in the past month pertaining to current events and social justice. The most common action is sharing a social media post about an issue or topic they are passionate about (32%), with Gen Z & Millennials leading the charge. Additionally, over one-in-four (27%) have donated money to a cause or charity they are passionate about in the last month and 18% have signed an online petition about a social justice issue they feel strongly about.
When asked to elaborate on which topics they shared social media posts about, black lives matter, equality, police brutality, and COVID-19 surface as common topics.
“Systemic racism and African-American history.” (Gen Z Male)
“List and descriptions about people who were killed unlawfully by police.” (Gen Z Male)
“I’ve shared posts for BLM, police reform, social justice reform, feminism, and environmental awareness.” (Millennial Female)
“Student visas, family separation, BLM.” (Millennial Male)
“I have shared about Black Lives Matter issues, other issues related to systemic racism and white supremacy, COVID relief funds, public school issues and poverty.” (Millennial Female)
“Black Lives Matter, safety is everyone’s responsibility.” (Gen X Female)
But are all viewpoints treated equally in this new era of social media? Not necessarily; nearly one-in-five have unfollowed someone on social media because they have different views on current events (18%) and/or argued with someone on social media about a topic or issue they are passionate about (17%).
As for social media burnout, one-in-three have either taken a break from social media in the past few months (22%) or are considering doing so (12%), led by Gen Z & Millennials (41-43%). One Millennial female who falls into this camp quips: “the stress caused by social media often outweighs any entertainment value or feelings of connection.” In addition to finding social media stressful in recent weeks, some also characterize it as negative and divisive.
“Because I’m tired of seeing people not take COVID-19 serious.” (Gen Z Female)
“Social media becomes repetitive to the point where it becomes an echo chamber.” (Gen Z Male)
“Because people are being so nasty online, and I can’t stand anything political right now.” (Gen Z Male)
“I did not like people sharing hateful views on social issues.” (Millennial Male)
“Reduce my stress, screen time, and limit exposure to the news.” (Millennial Male)
“There were times where negative posts outnumbered positive ones.” (Millennial Female)
“I’m tired of reading people’s comments arguing about what is right, what is wrong, who is responsible for COVID-19. I’m just tired of it.” (Gen X Female)
We’ll continue our deep-dive into of-the-moment topics during this unprecedented era with upcoming posts on the return of live sports and recent insights on remote working.