Social Media

It’s a common scene at a restaurant or coffee shop: As soon as the food arrives, everyone at the table takes out their mobile phone and starts taking photos.

Prior to that, they’re busy taking selfies and every now and then, someone withdraws from the conversation to check their Facebook pages or post just another status update to share something they just saw or thought about.

Social media is indeed a huge part of people’s lives and in that UAE, Facebook or Twitter is eating away an alarmingly huge amount of time.

According to the latest survey conducted by market research firm YouGov, residents in the country spend approximately five hours a day– that is almost a quarter of their day — updating their status on Facebook, browsing posts or chatting with their social media friends. The majority of these compulsive online users belong to the younger age group.

The findings were based on a survey among 5,000 residents in the UAE. Among the social media fans, about 8 in 10 (82 per cent) use Facebook “most regularly” or several times a week.

The second-most popular site is YouTube, preferred by 58 per cent of the respondents, followed by LinkedIn (26 per cent).

The least frequented platforms are Flickr, Foursquare, Reddit and Tumbler, accessed by less than 2 per cent of the residents.

The amount of time spent on social media, however, varies depending on the user’s age. Young residents, aged 18 to 35, are the most avid users, spending between two hours and six hours a day. Older users, aged 36 to 55, spend as little as 30 minutes up to two hours a day.

When asked which social media sites they use more than several times a week, the majority (63 per cent) picked Facebook. YouTube emerged as the next most popular, used by 14 per cent of the respondents.

What people are sharing

As to what types of content people post on Facebook, the majority (58 per cent) said they share personal photos, while 40 per cent share content daily. Status updates are a favourite among 39 per cent of the users, while others (36 per cent) love to let the online community know about their personal opinions.

Viral videos and news are also commonly shared (35 per cent) on the same platform, while 34 per cent share mostly personal photos and videos on Snapchat every day. Twitter users (24 per cent) share content and YouTube videos (21 per cent).

Whether they’re addicted to social media or not, users claim that the hours spent online are not a complete waste of time. Among those polled, 41 per cent said that social media is the most helpful and influential way to discover useful information about brands or products.