In a recent survey conducted at the University of South Florida, we examined the growing use of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter among a representative sample of 1,000 American adults. The USF study was conducted as an online survey using Prodege, a leading market research provider. Here’s a little of what we learned about the good, the bad and the ugly of social media.

For all the negative criticism that social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have received in recent years, it’s undeniable that these platforms expand our opportunities to connect with one another and stay informed. For many social media users, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a perfect example of these benefits.

We found that Americans have not only relied heavily on social media during the pandemic, but for many it has provided a needed source of grounding and connectivity. More than two-thirds of respondents to the survey (68 percent) say that they have “relied on social media to stay connected with friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic.” A similar majority (63 percent) say that they’ve used social media more frequently during the pandemic, while nearly half (49 percent) say that social media has been good for their mental health during this time.

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