Smartphone Users Check Facebook 14 Times a Day

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Think you use your phone to look at Facebook a lot? Unless you’re doing it at least 14 times a day, you’re actually below average.

That’s just one of the surprising revelations in a research report by IDC released in march. The study tapped 7,446 iPhone and Android users in the U.S. between 18 and 44 — representative of the 50% of the population that uses smartphones — and asked them questions about their phone usage across one week in March.

Depending on your perspective, many of the results are either depressing or confirm what you knew all along. For example, it seems that 79% of smartphone users reach for their devices within 15 minutes of waking up. A clear majority — 62% — don’t even wait 15 minutes, and grab their phones immediately. (Among 18-24 year olds, the numbers rise to 89% and 74%.)

Given that the survey was sponsored by Facebook, most of the questions focus on the social network. Which is, it seems, only the third most popular app on your smartphone, after email and the browser. Still, 70% of smartphone users are frequent Facebook visitors, with more than half of them checking it every day.

Peak Facebook time is during the evening, just before bed. But any time’s good: on average, we visit the Facebook app or the site 13.8 times during the day, for two minutes and 22 seconds each time. Our average total daily mobile time on the site — and remember, this is just via our smartphones — is half an hour.

That’s roughly a fifth of all the time we spend communicating; it’s only slightly less time than we spend texting. On weekends, we check Facebook more than we text.

Any place seems to be good to check Facebook, too. Some 46% of us check it when we’re shopping or running errands; 48% use it at the gym. Even preparing a meal gives 47% of us no respite from the social network. (Well, what else are you going to do while you’re waiting for the microwave to ping?)

Perhaps the most unpardonable sin: 50% of smartphone users admit to checking Facebook while at a movie. We hope they mean only during the ads.

So what are we spending all that time doing? Well, for about half of that daily half-hour on the social network, we’re simply browsing our News Feed. The rest of the time is divided fairly evenly between Facebook messaging and posting updates. Half of Facebook users play games via the service on their phone a few times a day.

Does the smartphone survey ring true to you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

[Source: Mashable]

Twitter NOT a Reliable Indicator of Public Opinion

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Seemingly dozens of startups exist which try to make sense of Twitter sentiment, and Twitter itself has been trying hard to portray its sentiment data as an accurate reflection of public opinion. However, Pew Research Center — among the gold standards of public research polling — says it might be all for naught.Pew compared traditional public poll results with Twitter sentiment data around eight of the most significant political events over the last year, often finding significantly divergent results.According to Pew, in some instances — Barack Obama’s reelection, the first presidential debate and a federal court ruling on California’s same-sex marriage ban — the reaction on Twitter was “more pro-Democratic or liberal than the balance of public opinion.” However, other events — Obama’s second inaugural speech, John Kerry’s nomination as Secretary of State and Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address — elicited a more conservative response on Twitter than they did in opinion polls.

Pew also pointed to the general negativity of political tweets, which perhaps suggests people are more likely to tweet about something about which they disapprove rather than vice-versa. That would affect Twitter sentiment data vis-a-vis public polling data, as Twitter data is comprised of opinions from people who weren’t directly prompted to share an opinion whereas public opinion polls rely on respondents’ answers to a series of questions.

Why else is there a difference between Twitter sentiment and public opinion polling? Three reasons, according to Pew: Demographics, sampling and grouping.

  • On demographics, only 13% of adults use Twitter, and only 3% said they regularly or sometimes tweet about the news, according to previous Pew studies — hardly enough to form a representative sample of voters. Additionally, Pew found that Twitter tends to skew young and left. “Twitter users are considerably younger than the general public and more likely to be Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party,” reads the study.
  • There’s also a sampling issue: Twitter conversations can include non-voters (such as those under 18 or international citizens), while public opinion poll samples about domestic politics are limited to citizens aged 18 and older.
  • Finally, there’s a problem of grouping: Not everybody who tweets about politics tweets aboutevery political event.

“Those who tweeted about the California same-sex marriage ruling were likely not the same group as those who tweeted about Obama’s inaugural or Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan,” reads the Pew study, which pointed to the substantial difference in the number of people who tweeted about Obama’s relected compared to Kerry’s nomination as evidence.

“In the two days following Obama’s re-election on Nov. 6, there were nearly 14 million Tweets from people expressing their reaction,” said Pew. “And more than five million expressed their reactions to the first presidential debate. But other events, particularly the federal court ruling on same sex marriage in California last February and Obama’s nomination of John Kerry in December, drew a much lower volume of tweets.”

There is, of course, a potential conflict of interest here: Pew might not want Twitter infringing on its opinion-polling turf.

Mashable has contacted Twitter for its response to the Pew study, and we will update this post with any comment.

Do you think Twitter can be a reliable source of public opinion?

[Source: Mashable]

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