Social Media Making us Less sociable – finds Doodle study in the UK

Online scheduling specialist Doodle did a recent study on the use of social media in the UK, here are the findings:

· Every hour Brits spend with friends takes 28 minutes to plan on social media

· 61% cancel social gatherings after planning drags on

· Average meet-up with mates takes 30 messages to organise

Social media like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have made pinning down a date to meet with mates a logistical nightmare, meaning frustrated Brits are now less likely to see friends face to face. That’s according to new research1 from Doodle, examining how friends plan get-togethers in the digital age.

It found that a whopping three quarters of us (73%) regularly use social media or messaging tools to plan gathering with friends, but with the average three-person meeting taking 30 messages to organise, many are simply tuning out. The situation is even more painful for 18-24 year olds, with the average meeting requiring a thread stretching to 50 messages.

As a result, 61% say that social gatherings are cancelled because friends, frustrated by the drawn-out planning process, drop out and over 28 million (58%) of us admit to ignoring email threads, muting never ending WhatsApp conversations and leaving Facebook notifications unread.

36% of us also admit to discussing the same meeting across three or more social media platforms or messaging tools at one time. Thanks to this endless game of planning ping pong it now takes Brits an average of 28 minutes to organise every hour they spend with their friends.

Yet, half of Brits say they would like to see their friends more, and 49% said that they would be much more likely to do so if it was easier to figure out when their friends were free.

Michael Brecht, CEO of Doodle said, “Agreeing a date and time to meet friends can be like pinning jelly to a wall at the best of times, but the explosion of messaging services has made it even worse. Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter were meant to make communicating simpler and all of us more sociable – this research suggests they are having the opposite effect.”

Doodle has developed a simple, free solution to the problem, which Michael hopes will result in more friends meeting up face to face. Doodle users set up an event online, add suggested times and then send the invitation link to all invited. Invitees then select the times they’re available and Doodle works out the best time for everyone and notifies you. Our Doodle service is growing rapidly in the UK, with a Brit using Doodle to arrange a meet up every minute of every day2.

Michael concludes, “Friendships are incredibly important, and need to be nurtured – studies have shown they even help you live longer. We feel like we’re doing our little bit to make it easier for friends to meet up and share quality time together.”

Top social media and messaging tools to organise outings with friends in the UK:

1. Facebook (51%)
2. Email (43%)
3. Facebook Messenger (30%)
4. SMS (28%)
5. WhatsApp (26%)
6. Twitter (18%)
7. Skype (16%)
8. Snapchat (9%)

1 Methodology: Research commissioned by Doodle and conducted by independent research firm, One Poll between 17th and 19th February 2015. One Poll carried out a survey of 2,000 UK consumers aged 18 – 55+. Percentages and figures quoted refer to the proportion of the whole sample, unless otherwise stated.

2 In 2014, over 947,000 meeting ‘polls’ were created on Doodle in the UK, equating to 1.8 polls/minute

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