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Social Media in 2018: Wellbeing – Positive Digital Lives And Switching Off

Hello and welcome to the first of our three social media trends in 2018 blogs. Man, 2018 flew past, right? The end of the year is always a good time for a bit of reflection and planning for next year.

To help you with this I’ve delved back into my ‘What’s New in Social Media’ blogs and identified a number of trends that are likely to continue through 2019.

And remember, if you’d like the benefit of our expertise to help shape your social media strategy for next year, you can always sign up for our Social Media Strategy course.

Wellbeing: People are seeking positive digital experiences and switching off more.  

We’re now over a decade in from the mainstream adoption of smart phones and social media. We are only now becoming more mature in our use of this technology.

People have a better understanding of how too much screen time can lead to restless sleep or near collisions. Particularly when playing Pokemon Go while crossing the road. We also know that burying ourselves in our online lives to the exclusion of all else is not good for our mental health.

Most of us believe that we need to adapt our behaviours.

Social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram; hardware manufacturers such as Apple iOS and Google Android; and a raft of 3rd party apps have launched tools to help us. These monitor our usage, provide helpful alerts and enable us set our own limits.

According to a survey conducted by the Global Web Index, 41% of people in the UK say they’ve decreased time spent on social networks this year.

32% of all UK/US social media users have closed a social media account in the last year.

The top reason given for this were that they were ‘no longer interested in what other people do/share’. They also felt that ‘social media had become too shallow / personal-image driven.


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These social media trends can’t have escaped the attention of social media providers.

How have social platforms reacted?

Facebook and Instagram have launched tools that help people track their time spent online. They can also set limits and reminders to ensure they stick to their goals. Read more in our full Smartphones and Wellbeing blog.

Facebook, in particular, has emphasised the importance of Community. It has put huge efforts into helping people grow, manage and even monetise Groups (instead of Pages). It has set aside budget for training and sponsorship, to help people develop meaningful Groups. Facebook changed its algorithm to prioritise posts from family and friends. The clear message they are trying to send is that they want time of their platform to be well spent – actively connecting with people rather than passively scrolling. As Mark Zuckerberg himself says:

In October Twitter was testing tools aimed at helping start positive conversations on its platform. Although this doesn’t appear to gone live (yet) it’s clear they are exploring ways to make Twitter a happy home.

Instagram has implemented an anti-bullying tool that scans images, text and video for signs of bullying. It then reports that content to a Community Operations Team (of humans) for further action.

Of the people who closed a social media account this year, 25% said it was because they didn’t trust social media companies with their data/content.

Find out how trust is the new digital currency in our next blog.