Study: Only Half Social Media Users Stick With Their Real Names

study only half social media users stick with their real names anon

Normally a survey conducted by the insurance industry isn’t all that interesting here at Digital Trends, but we’re making an exception here: a new survey of 1,040 Americans conducted by Opinion Research in April (and sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies) finds that just over half of those surveys always use their real names on social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. One third said they use a mixture of their real name and perhaps a nickname to identify themselves, and 18 percent always use a nickname and never a real name to identify themselves.

And here’s something more interesting: fully two thirds (66 percent) of respondents said they would not use mobile technology that posts their location to social networking services.

“Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare have created new social media risks and an environment where many people don’t know who they are talking to online,” said Chubb’s worldwide liability manager Kenneth Goldstein, in a statement. “They don’t realize who can see their location, creating many exposures for individuals and companies.”

Some 20 percent of respondents said they had used social networking services to share a “negative product or service experience,” and the survey also found that about two thirds (64 percent) of respondents say their employers have no policy about talking their companies on social networking services. Of respondents who said their companies had policies, about one fifth said their companies encouraged them to talk about the firm online, while about the same number were prohibited from talking about their companies.

Although there’s no way to know how representative the survey sample is of American social networking users, the results would seem to contradict assertions of some major players in the industry that consumers are craving shared online experiences that take place under their real identities, and that sharing location-based information is particularly compelling.

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