Our stiff upper lip is starting to quiver as social networking sites give rise to sentimental outpourings
Traditionally we British have been known for our ‘reserve’, keeping calm and carrying on while life falls apart around us. However, latest research from Panasonic points to a national psyche in flux. Social networking sites, it seems, have had a large part to play in this emotional turnaround.
The majority of Britons (62 per cent) believe social networking sites have made them less private and more willing to share personal information than they were five years ago. 41 per cent are happy to let others know how they’re feeling – happy, sad or irate; 38 per cent think nothing of sharing the mundane – whether that’s how much they drank last night or what they had for breakfast; while around a third (34 per cent) are at ease boasting about their age, their whereabouts (30 per cent) and relationship status (27 per cent). Tellingly, women are happier than men to share all of the above information with the exception of their age.
Commenting on the research, Fabrice Estornel, Head of TV Business, at Panasonic said: “It’s official – we Britons are becoming much less reserved. What’s more, our new-found appetite for sharing shows no signs of abating. Over half (55 per cent) of those we surveyed are interested in new social networking platforms that make it even easier for them to share information with others. Panasonic’s VIERA TV Swipe&Share and Watch&Chat features take this concept one step further, allowing users to easily stream pictures, videos or music from their smartphone or tablet to the TV or watch live broadcasts and Skype at the same time.”
However, many will be pleased to hear that Brits still draw the line somewhere. 78 per cent still believe it is wrong to share details of last night’s exploits. Two thirds (67 per cent) find it distasteful to brag about how much money they have or how much they spent on their new Aston Martin. Meanwhile 66 per cent balk at too much information about bodily functions – whether that’s a hacking cough or the after effects of last night’s curry.
Psychologist Gladeana McMahon said: “This research doesn’t surprise me. Human beings are natural communicators who are open to change, especially when that change enables them to connect with others. The more we see others sharing, the more likely we are to respond or share our own information. Psychologists call this ‘positive reinforcement’ and it takes place each and every time we see, share or reply to a posting. We use social networking because it is an immediate form of communication. However, what we share is ultimately based on an individual’s personality type.”
Further breakdown of the results:
• Perhaps unsurprisingly women (47%) are more likely than men (34%) to share information about how they’re feeling, while men (22%) are more forthcoming than women (16%) when it comes to talking about their political and philosophical views
• Southerners (45%) are more comfortable discussing feelings than their Northern counterparts (39%), with Londoners the most open of all (46%). Those from the Midlands (34%) are most reserved when it comes to sharing feelings
• The Scottish are most likely to share information about the mundane (46%) – for example, what they had for dinner and what they saw on the TV
• People from the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside are the most reserved of all – with over a third (34%) claiming not to share any personal information with others – online or otherwise
• Woman are much more likely than men to share information with close friends and family (75%), while men are more comfortable telling all to friends and acquaintances (52%) and complete strangers (11%). Only 5% of woman would discuss personal matters with strangers
• Londoners and those from the South East are more likely to share personal details with strangers (11%), while the Scottish are most suspicious, with just 3% willing to divulge all to a complete unknown
• Geordies’ personalities have been least swayed by the introduction of social networking sites, with over half (54%) claiming they have made no difference to the amount of information they share with others
• Londoners have been most affected with 65% admitting that social networking sites have made them more willing to share personal information with others – perhaps busy schedules mean online sharing is much quicker and more effective than the traditional meet up or telephone call?
• Unsurprisingly, with that in mind, Londoners (67%) are also the most keen to hear about new social networking platforms that make it even easier for them to share information with others
• It appears women are more prudish than men – 85% of women think it is wrong to share information about last night’s exploits compared to just 70% of men; 71% of women find bragging about money distasteful compared to 62% of men; while 70% of woman shy away from discussing bodily functions, compared to just 62% of men
• Finally, contrary to stereotypes, Geordies are the most reserved – with 84% feeling it’s inappropriate to discuss last night’s exploits with others, 72% money and 51% death