Although I have my own views on the Internet and social media, I wanted to see what others thought about them, particularly their views on how they’re portrayed in the media. I created a survey with 9 questions and I gathered 43 responses over the holidays, from a range of ages and genders – which is evident from Question 1 & 2. The graphs & responses, which I found quite interesting, can be found below.
In Question 3, I found that WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook were the most regularly used apps and/or websites respectively. Learning this was vital, as it gave me an idea of what sites to use in my film. I wanted it to be something many people relate to, so knowing what it is that people use will help me do this. With this question I found that only 7 of the 43 surveyed do not use more than one social site regularly. Of these 7, 4 of them where between the ages of 41-60. Because my film will not be targeted people this age, I will be using a range of websites and apps. When looking through the individual responses, I found that the people who used the top 4 options in the list were in the age group 18-22. However I feel that this may be because the majority of those who answered the survey were of this age.
Question 4 looked into how safe people felt when they were online and to my surprise, almost 80% reported that they felt somewhat safe. I was expecting people to not feel safe due to stories about leaked information, cyberbullying, surveillance etc. so I was glad to learn that majority of people felt safe online.
I wanted to learn about the impact the Internet and social media has on people’s personal lives. Overall it seems that they been affected positively by both, with 21 of 43 people picking this option. What was odd was the fact that 12 people chose “Neither have had any impact on my life”, which had the second most votes. I added this choice for people who didn’t use any social media but took this survey. But considering everyone I gathered uses social media regularly, it didn’t makes sense to me that they thought it didn’t have any impact on them. Surely if you’re using Facebook (for example) more than once a week, there’s a reason for that and it’s affecting your life in some way, even if you don’t realise it.
What was even more interesting was that although most people felt that both the Internet and social media had a positive impact in their life, it was evident in the next question that most people thought that the rise of social media has had a negative impact on society overall. So why did people think their life was being enhanced by social media, but society as a whole wasn’t? Well in the penultimate question, the majority of people thought that social media was portrayed negatively in the mass media. So maybe the media is affecting their view on the world. After thinking about it, it’s possible that people assume the things they see on the news or in films etc. won’t ever happen to them and they detach from what they see. Therefore although there are many negative things are happening to people in society due to social media, they don’t see themselves as part of this.
As I’ve already mentioned, over 50% of people felt that it’s portrayed negatively and in the final question, I asked people why they thought this. I’ve added some of the responses below in a slide show. Some of the responses were rather insightful. For example, someone talked about how “bad news sells”, so news emphasise on this but not the positive news about the internet. Another person talked about how social media is “demonised” and “falsely portrayed” as we are told that it’s had a negative impact on our human interaction. On the other hand those who said social media is portrayed positively, gave reasons such as the fact that on TV shows and the news etc. audiences are told to follow them on Twitter or use a hashtag to get involved.
During a family gathering during New Year’s day, I asked everyone over the age of thirteen in the household to complete my survey. The conversation in the room naturally turned to the topic of social media. There was a clear divide between the older and younger people in the room. My 37-year-old sister talked about how many websites and apps there are now to keep in touch, which are actually making us less social. She then mentioned that she wasn’t as narcissistic as people are today (referring to Snapchat). Whilst those under 25 explained that they were just having fun and at least we were all still spending time with each other.
I think creating this survey was a good idea as it gave me something to work with before I started my secondary research.I feel that while I was able to create statistics from this primary research, which will hopefully be backed up with my secondary, I was also able to see the individual responses. This gave me more of an insight to what people felt and how perceptions change as they get older. It allowed me to understand how those around me felt before I found out about what the statistics are for the whole of the UK, or even the world. It also confirmed my view that mass media portrays social media negatively, making me determined to make something that breaks this chain.
Surveymonkey (2016) The Internet and Social Media. Available at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FM7ZDKJ (Accessed: December 2017).