Study: In Spite of its popularity, Americans skeptical of social media

13th Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll Shows Opportunities for Businesses and Political Leaders, But Authenticity and Openness Are Key

Americans believe participation in social media makes them more informed and influential as both consumers and citizens, even as they express clear skepticism about the trustworthiness of the information they find there, according to poll results announced today by The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal.

The 13th quarterly Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll explored how Americans incorporate social media into their consumer and community behaviors. Its findings reveal important themes about trust and influence, even as leaders in the public and private sectors increasingly use social media to engage consumers and voters.

Nearly two out of three American adults surveyed used social media in the last month. Although social media users are somewhat younger, more educated and more affluent than non-users on average, they closely align with the overall American public in their opinions about politics and the economy, as well as their perceptions of major institutions.

However, social media users report significantly higher levels of political and community activity, including volunteering for a community organization (69% of social media users versus 49% of non-users), signing campaign or community petitions (68% of users versus 50% of non-users), or attending a campaign rally (32% of users versus 22% of non-users). Social media users also are more likely to consult with others about buying a product or service (79% of users versus 60% of non-users) or change their minds about a product or service because of others’ opinions (64% of users versus 47% of non-users).

[Read more…]