Social media burnout visible among urban Indian youth: Survey

Youngsters in urban India have started experiencing social media fatigue, logging on less frequently to social networks like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Orkut, Linkedin, Myspace, Friendster, Hi5 and BigAdda than when they initially signed up, according to a survey.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) conducted the survey under the aegis of the Assocham Social Development Foundation to examine current usage trends among youngsters vis-à-vis social networks and the time spent on these websites.

Assocham representatives interacted with about 2,000 youngsters (an equal number of males and females) in the age group of 12 to 25 years in the urban centres of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, the Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune between October and December, 2011.

"Tech overload is apparent among youth and their fixation with social media seems to be eroding as they have started focusing on more important things than grooming their digital identities," said Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat while releasing the findings of the survey.

About 55 per cent of all respondents across these cities said they have consciously reduced time spent on social media websites and are no longer as active and enthusiastic about their favourite social networks as when they had signed up.

Nearly 30 per cent of these said they have deactivated or deleted their accounts and profiles from these websites and it is no longer a craze among them, while most of the remaining users said they have started maintaining a low profile on social networks as their privacy is being breached.

Consequently, they now only peep into their profiles once in a while.

About 75 per cent of the total sample said they created a profile or an account on almost each of these websites, which was a fad when they were just launched.
However, most of them said they barely use them anymore and prefer sticking to a single site.

About 20 per cent of the respondents said they hardly log on to social networking websites and prefer staying in touch with their folks via chat applications like Blackberry Messenger, Watsapp, Nimbuzz, Mig33, Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger on their mobiles and computers.

An interesting finding that emerged from the survey was that young Indian women seem to use social networks more frequently than their male counterparts.

About 500 of all the respondents said they have extended the time spent on social networking by over an hour and regularly log on to keep a track of multiple social media sites to stay connected to their friends. Of these, nearly 65 per cent were females and most of them said they tend to log onto social media sites almost everyday.

Over half of the nearly 200 respondents interviewed in Bangalore said their initial fascination with social networking has been fading of late and they now find it boring and sick to see constant senseless status updates and the same thing over and over again and have significantly reduced the time spent on social media sites.

About 40 per cent of the respondents in the city said they have extended the time spent on networking online and access multiple social networks to keep their friends and peers updated and stay connected to them.

Most respondents said they indulge in social networking at home, school and college and while they are at work on their smartphones and an excess of it has started telling on their mental and physical health and even their professional and personal lives.

"Although social networking is the most popular online activity, youngsters have started finding social media boring, confusing, frustrating and time-consuming as they surf these websites less frequently and are tend to surf other informative websites, send e-mails, search the internet and play games instead of accessing their accounts, hardly responding to comments and other material posted on their walls," said the survey.

Most respondents said compulsive social networking has led to insomnia, depression, poor inter-personal relationships, a lack of concentration, high levels of anxiety, ignorance and rudeness in their general behaviour as they tend to replace real-life social interactions with online social media.

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