How we use modern communication platforms

Technological advancements have left us awash with options when it comes to communicating in the modern age. But are we taking advantage of this greater level of choice, and how is it affecting our lives?

To find out, we surveyed 2,000 people in the U.S. on their use of 23 common communication platforms (shown below), covering everything from social media to dating apps. We then asked what impact, be it positive or negative, these platforms are having on their personal and professional lives.

 

 

 

Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Google+
WeChat
Reddit
Instagram
Snapchat
Flickr
Tumblr
Skype
Facetime
Google Hangouts
Join.me
GoToMeeting
Facebook Messenger
WhatsApp
Viber
Tinder
Match.com
OkCupid
Bumble
Happn

Modern communication platforms are a huge part of our lives

A staggering 92 percent of all our respondents said they use at least one of the 23 suggested communication platforms daily—an indication of how important they are to people of all generations in the modern age.

Facebook was the most commonly used platform, with 87 percent of respondents saying they use it daily, followed by its partnered app Facebook Messenger (58 percent). Other social media platforms such as Twitter (43 percent), Google+ (39 percent) and Instagram (37 percent) made up the remainder of the top five.

Respondents reported using an average of 3.6 platforms daily, indicating that adoption across a number of platforms is commonplace. Combine it with our findings on how long people spend on them, and you get an even greater picture of the role these media play in our lives.

WeChat was found to be the most time-consuming communication platform, with users spending an average of 1 hour and 37 minutes on the app daily. Scale that up, and it means users spend an average of 11.3 hours of their week on the app—or 24.5 days of their year.

Aside from being the among the most time-consuming platforms, instant messaging apps such as WeChat, Viber and WhatsApp feature heavily when we look at how often people check the listed platforms.

Platform Average number of times checked daily
Viber 5.91
Bumble 5.78
Join.me 5.76
OkCupid 5.72
WeChat 5.72
Tinder 5.72

Instant messaging app Viber came out on top of this statistic. An average of 5.91 checks per day equates to 2,157 every year.

Using this data, we can gather some insight into our use of different types of platforms. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are more widespread in daily use, but we use them less intensely than instant messaging apps, which have higher average consumption times and checks per day.

Despite the level of saturation in our personal lives, businesses are a little slower in their adoption of modern communication platforms.

While businesses may use toll-free numbers to allow customers to communicate with them more easily, we found a less regular use of modern communication platforms and apps in the office than at home.

The most commonly used workplace platforms align with those in the home, but each one drops significantly for businesses purposes. Fifty-four percent fewer people said they use Facebook for work purposes, while 34 percent fewer use Facebook Messenger and 20 percent fewer use Twitter.

Despite that, 40 percent said they consider communication in the workplace to be easier thanks to these platforms.

We feel reliant on technology to communicate

More than 50 percent of the people we surveyed said they feel either “somewhat reliant” or “very reliant” on technology when communicating.

The pragmatic benefits that come from using these platforms has led to a state of dependence in half our respondents.

Millennials are leading on adoption of communicative technology

Throughout our study, we found that millennials (ages 18–34) were more inclined to adopt new communication technology than older generations. Not only were their levels of daily use higher but so too is the average amount of time spent consuming information on these platforms.

Millennials were found to spend 35 percent more time communicating via these platforms each day than those over 35, and 70 percent longer than those over 45. Such is their level of proficiency; millennials are also leading the adoption of technology for everyday activities.

Almost three-quarters of millennials turn to technology when having a conversation with friends, sharing an image with someone, sharing news or having a group conversation with friends.

Millennials feel more reliant on technology to communicate

An increase in usage also brings an increase in the reliance millennials feel technology has on their lives. That extends to the workplace, where millennials are much more likely to consider technology as a crucial part of their careers.

We asked people if their jobs would change without access to these communication platforms, and if so, to what extent.

Age 18­­-34 Age 35-54 Age 55+
My job would not exist 8% 7% 1%
My job would have to alter dramatically 19% 13% 3%
My job would alter slightly 25% 17% 14%
My job would not change 48% 63% 82%

Roughly one in four millennial respondents (27 percent) said their job would either not exist or would have to change dramatically without the use of communication platforms, up from 20 percent for 35-54 years old and just 4 percent for those over 55.

Indeed, more than half (52 percent) said their job would have to change to some degree, 15 percent more than 35–54-year-olds and 35 percent higher than those over 55. It’s an indication of the changing landscape of the jobs market, where proficiency in modern tech platforms is increasingly necessary for millennial employment prospects.

Given that many believe that technology is crucial to their professional lives, it’s no surprise to see more millennials consider themselves to be reliant on the very technology that helps mold their personal and professional lives.

As many as three-quarters of millennials said they feel “somewhat reliant” or “very reliant” on technology when communicating. So ingrained are these technologies in the lives of younger generations that it’s led to a reliance on these media on both a personal and professional level.

Using valuable insight from experts in business, psychology and telecommunications, our white paper further investigates the changing dynamics of communication, including what these findings mean for your business.

Written by Jason O’Brien for CW Magazine.

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