Asian Youths Go Overboard on Facebook

Associated PressApple fans entertain themselves with iPads and iPhones while waiting in queue to purchase the iPad 3 in Singapore during its launch in March.

Young people in Singapore and China may need a break from all the time they’re spending online.

A recent survey of youths between the ages of 19 and 26 in Singapore, China and the U.S. by advertising agency JWT found that more than half find it too demanding to keep up with their activities on Facebook, Twitter and the like. Managing their commitments on the social networks – which were designed in part to ease communication between people – is now becoming a chore, according to the survey’s results.

In Singapore, 93% of youths have Facebook accounts – one of the highest percentages in the world – and more than a quarter check their Facebook pages every few hours. One in ten check their pages every minute, and almost all log on to the social networking site once a day. More than half say that this has a negative effect on their jobs or schoolwork.

“Young adults are super wired, and that’s created an ever-present social obligation that’s starting to wear them down. They feel they have to look at and ‘like’ their friends’ photos and status updates to keep up and show they care,” said Angus Fraser, managing director of JWT Singapore.

A growing number of people in Singapore is also plugged in to newer applications like Instagram and LinkedIn – with 16% now signed up to Instagram, and almost 46% logging in to LinkedIn once a day.

In China, nearly two thirds of those surveyed said they felt pressure to be in constant contact with various social media sites – most notably Qzone, Weibo and Ren Ren – with 58% saying that this obligation to social media is stressful. More than half said that this stress has increased from just a year ago.

The Chinese market is one of the most robust in the world for social media, and according to a survey by McKinsey released last month, 91% of Chinese respondents said they visited a social media site in the last six months.

Additionally, the JWT survey found that conversations on social media often permeate spill over into the real world, with 73% in Singapore and 81% in China saying it was important to keep up with social media activity since it is discussed in face-to-face conversations.

In Singapore, where smartphone penetration is the highest in the world at 55%, according to, young adults are most inclined to visit social networking sites when out and while waiting – as well as in the bedroom. One in ten people surveyed admitted to visiting a social networking site while being intimate with a partner, and 17% have used social networking while on a date.

The solution – at least according to JWT – may lie in yet another piece of technology that’s supposed to make life easier. JWT Singapore and Nestle have created a “KIT KAT Social Break Widget” whose name borrows from the Nestle candy bar Kit Kat’s tagline. The widget, which sits on a desktop computer, will allow social media users to automatically “like” photos their friends have tagged them in, and even tweets back short, quick messages – helping to save precious seconds that could be used for more Facebook stalking. It works by letting users program it to auto-reply certain friends and twitter users so they don’t feel ignored.

The popularity of social networking has also spread to Asian politicians. Recently, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong joined his Malaysia counterpart Prime Minister Najib Razak in setting up his own Facebook page, using it to respond to Singaporeans who flood the page with questions, concerns and messages of praise.

Some residents were also quick to leave messages warning Mr. Lee not to spend as much time on Facebook as they do, saying this might be “distracting,” according to one visitor to the site.

By Shibani Mahtani
May 9, 2012, The Wall Street Journal 
Link : Asian Youths Go Overboard on Facebook 


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