How Do People Access Social Media and Why?

Crimson Hexagon Analyzes Social User Device Preferences

social media insights title image
Social Media has many ways of presenting “itself.” Users love to comment on how they interact with social media platforms and channels. In this post, I will focus on just one part of this conversation: how people discuss accessing their various social media accounts and why. This is a very robust conversation in social media, particularly through Twitter. While this analysis examines Twitter, it is significant to note that people use Twitter to discuss many forms of social media. By collecting and storing the full Twitter firehose since 2010, Crimson Hexagon’s data library gives us a unique ability to research users’ comments about their social media experience.
In order to get an initial sense of the conversation, we began by looking at mentions of various port devices and how people refer to them: phone, mobile, computer, laptop, etc. We looked at these mentions in conjunction with references to concrete social media platforms, and the word choices involved in how people access them. This more exclusive search was done to require very clear and distinct mentions of people talking about this subject while simultaneously rooting out superfluous chatter. By streamlining this search, we can filter down to the most direct conversation about how people access social media from our library of social data.

We found that people mention social media usage in reference to smartphone/mobile devices at a 2-to-1 rate in comparison with computers and laptops. This preference is not surprising, considering the ubiquity and accessibility of smart technology. You might be thinking the discrepancy is even greater than a 2-to-1 ratio. You are indeed right in thinking this way. But what do the numbers really allude to? We took a deeper dive into what social analysis actually says for social media users and the devices they employ.
ForSight, our social media listening platform, trains posts into customizable categories, which sheds another fundamental insight. The problem with merely counting mentions of people discussing social media platforms in conjunction with laptops/computers is that it does not provide any context. In other words, how are people having these conversations? After a deeper look, it becomes clear that there is conversation about the two categories in conjunction, but the discussion is far from positive in sentiment.

Based on the ForSight analysis, less than one percent of people talk about using a computer or laptop to access social media. 76% discuss using it on their phones while 23% talk about how strange or uncomfortable it is to use social media from their computers. This is a fundamentally divergent insight a ForSight user can find when delving into the filtering layers of social media listening. The data can be harnessed to be extraordinarily specific and invaluable in nature.
Social Media Access Device
At the same time when conducting this analysis, another unique (but popular) conversation kept appearing throughout the results. One point I should mention: It’s easy to go into an analysis thinking that you can anticipate exactly the results or conversations people are having, but on social media analysis, you will always be surprised on some level by the results. During this analysis, the surprising factor was the countless references to emojis. These popular images inserted into tweets and text messages are a unique and colorful form of expression that people have very strong opinions about.
Social Media Conversations Word Cloud
At a general level, people have mentioned emojis in connection with laptops, phones, computers, etc. more than three million times on Twitter since January 1, 2013. And these are just people who are talking about them, not even those that use them! Most importantly, emojis affect the preference people have for using a device. The most common grievance, expressed countless times by people, was the inability to use emojis on their computers/laptops. People really like employing these images, which in turn determines what devices they choose to use when engaging in social media activity.

Looking more closely into this discussion, it became clear that emojis were very influential for how someone enjoyed the device they were using. At the phone level, there was a great deal of banter between those who could use and those who could not use emojis. Many people who could use emojis were very sarcastic against those who could not. People who could use them were often expressing their absolute addiction to decorating their posts with these images. Nevertheless, consumer sentiment and demand is rarely static. One conversation, which was posted more recently, stated people’s boredom with the “same old” emojis; they wanted more and “better” ones to share. Looking at this conversation broken down, we can learn a few interesting things.
Social Media Phone Emoji
The majority of the conversation surrounded people’s affection for emojis, but a close second was a discussion about people’s interest in seeing more of them. At the same time, despite the inability to use emojis on laptops, people still interact with them through these devices.

What’s clear from the massive discussion available to diagnose: the chatter behind the way people interact via social media is a fickle one. People may have their established habits and patterns, but rarely will these remain consistent, and shifts or sentiment changes can go unnoticed without constant attention. Small changes that improve people’s experience of social media on a platform can quickly and fundamentally change their purchasing behavior for a new device, particularly when telling their friends about their new discovery and how advancement is only one download away.
Interested in seeing more analysis with the ForSight platform? Read through our case study on how social media users predicted both Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James’ returns to their hometown NBA teams.

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