More time on social media could mean more money out of your pocket

More time on social media could mean more money out of your pocket

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Research conducted on the effects of social media shows that spending time on your favorite social platforms can make you spend more money.

The truth is since social media hit the scene, just about every aspect of our lives has been changed. But WAVE 3 News has some information that may help you if you struggle to make ends meet.

"You know it’s interesting to see how impactful social media is,” University of Louisville Associate Professor Karen Freberg said. “Everyone is using it. Everyone is creating content, making network connections.”

Freberg is an associate professor in strategic communications, researching and teaching social media. She said she believes social media is changing more than the way we communicate.

“It’s not only just a fad anymore,” she said. "It is a key part of what we see and do in our everyday lives. It’s getting bigger and bigger, and more prominent every year.”

A recent study done by two business school researchers found that social media can even influence the amount of money you spend. Columbia University’s Keith Wilcox and the University of Pittsburgh’s Andrew T. Stephen found social media users begin to feel good as they connect through social media and they let their guards down.

According to the study of about 1,000 U.S. Facebook users, those who spent relatively long periods of time on Facebook and had especially strong online social networks were likely to have lower credit scores and more credit card debt than those who used it less and had weaker networks.

“The more time you spend on social media, more than likely you’re going to be spending a little bit more in terms of your wallet,” Freberg said.

An actual phenomenon commonly referred to as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) keeps you glued to social networks so you won’t be left out of something important.

“Social media is really the place everyone goes first to kinda figure out what to buy, what to look at," Freberg said. “Who would they follow in terms of influencers? What they’re buying. What they’re sharing.”

Social media users must realize social media platforms are databases. It may be a place for you to mix and mingle, and that makes it a repository for information. Everything about you and everything you do is exchanged through social media.

“The level of targeting that happens on Facebook and other social media is definitely intense,” Freberg said. “We’ve been willing to give these companies data.”

That data is often used to pinpoint exactly what ads or products you may be interested in by who you are talking to, or what you are clicking on. Putting it in front of you makes it easy for you to click and buy.

“They’re basically analyzing the content that you’re responding to and looking at, and saying these are the pieces of content from your community and brands that you follow that we want you to see,” Freberg said.

On social media, the task of “Keeping up with the Joneses” is more expensive and easier than ever. When we see others spending money, we feel like we can or should be spending, too.

“You’re not having as much focus in terms of what you’re doing so you might be, ‘Oh I gotta buy this,’" Freberg said. “You’re kinda impulsive, ‘Oh I gotta have this.’ Social media does influence your spending. I think it’s really ... we’re always connected.”

According to Social Media Today, the average person will spend nearly two hours on social media every day, which translates to a total of five years and four months over a lifetime. That time is only increasing every year.

“It takes a lot of self control,” Freberg said.

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