A new Pew Research poll is out which says that 85 percent of adults view the people they meet on social media as being, well, “nice.” This is good news for every company, brand and individual who has gone out of their way to be nice through their social media network, even when the recipient of their kindness might not have deserved it.
Blocked commenters and “Unfriended” individuals aside, it really says something that more than half, heck, more than three quarters of people using social media think of it as a nice place. I can’t recall there being any polls about the Internet in general when it first came out, but as someone who was among the first to venture forth I can tell you, it was like wandering into a deep, dark woods, alone, at night, blindfolded, with raw meat strapped around you.
The Social Web is decidedly different from Web 2.0 or the original Internet. It is a friendly place, perhaps because people cannot so easily hide behind their shield of anonymity. There is a factor of accountability built into social media that forces people (mostly) to behave themselves. This is part of what makes social media a good place for businesses to interact with clients, customers and potential clients and customers. There is freedom to speak your mind, yes, but you have to be sure of what you say and have the facts to back yourself up. You can’t just spout off at the mouth, complain without reason and expect that complaint to go unanswered. People are listening and they respond (you do listen and respond, right?)
We all know that social media marketing is relationship marketing and most of us take that to heart. We strive to be good friends with the people we encounter on the Social Web because that pays big dividends. As a side benefit, it is also making the online world a much nicer place for everyone to visit, which is a good thing.
The overall social and emotional climate of social networking sites (SNS) is a very positive one where adult users get personal rewards and satisfactions at far higher levels than they encounter anti-social people or have ill consequences from their encounters. A nationally representative phone survey of American adults finds that:
85% of SNS-using adults say that their experience on the sites is that people are mostly kind, compared with 5% who say people they observe on the sites are mostly unkind and another 5% who say their answer depends on the situation.