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social-media-people webRISMEDIA, November 23, 2009—Americans have dramatically integrated social networking tools into their lives. Euro RSCG Worldwide, one of the world’s leading advertising and marketing agency networks, conducted a study on how people use the ever-changing options in social and online media available today.

According to the study, their world is expanding and narrowing at the same time because of social media’s hyperlocalization quotient. And “cyberdisinhibition” – being more willing to behave online in ways they wouldn’t in person – has both emboldened users and led them to inappropriate behavior.

“Word of mouth has always been the most powerful marketing tool; what social media has done is dramatically increase the scale, velocity and immediacy with which people can influence each other and create the biggest revolution to hit our industry since television,” said David Jones, global CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide. “One of the interesting findings of the study is that it’s the combination of online and offline experiences that creates the biggest impact.”

Despite buzz to the contrary, online social networking is enhancing, not deteriorating, relationships among Americans. This new study, of 1,228 social media users in the United States, found that by interacting through online media, consumers are more connected than ever.

Some of the significant findings include:

-Although more than half of respondents (53.5%) have met new people through electronic media, face-to-face interaction is still the gold standard.

-Consumers are engaging more in what Euro RSCG calls trialogues – multi-way exchanges of ideas and opinions among consumers and brands, which matter now more than ever.

-Consumers are not only more involved with family and friends, but they also have increased their involvement in political and humanitarian issues.

-A solid 40% agree that social groupings online can be truly social, while only 14% disagree; figures differ very little across age, gender, ethnic or income groups.

“Online social networking has become part of our culture so quickly, it’s easy to forget just how new it is and how much it’s a work in progress. People are still experimenting with the different options and finding ways to make it part of their life,” said Marian Salzman, president of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America, and one of the world’s top five trendspotters. “Forget the images of sad antisocial types. Smart consumers are mixing and matching the tools that come available to meet their social needs. Electronic tools are making them even more socially active, just as the telephone did back in the day.”

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