Monday 8 March 2010

Social Media and Personal Responsibility Survey

First-Ever Comprehensive Survey of Online Behaviors and Responsibility

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A national survey released today by Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project sheds light on what individuals deem responsible social media use in the workplace, in relationships, at school and as it relates to parenting. The survey is the first of its kind, studying personal online behaviors and responsibility. A key finding revealed that men are generally more accepting of social media activities and use social networking sites more than women.

“Liberty Mutual created the Responsibility Project to initiate organic discussions about personal responsibility and what it means to each individual”
The Liberty Mutual “Social Media and Personal Responsibility Survey” uncovered that men are more lenient than women when it comes to Facebook in particular, and they tend to be more actively involved in social media across the board. Key findings on how differently men and women view social networking sites include:

1. Forty percent of men consider things like “friending” a boss or co-worker on Facebook “responsible,” while only 29 percent of women believe the same.

2. Men are more likely to think it’s acceptable for a CEO to “Tweet” about their company (51 percent of men vs. 37 percent of women).

3. Twenty-five percent of men find it responsible to tag a friend in a Facebook photo without them seeing it first, while only 19 percent of women find it responsible.

4. Men (57 percent) are more likely than women (50 percent) to have more than one social networking account.

5. With the exception of Facebook, men are generally more likely than women to use other social media accounts at least a few times per week, particularly Twitter.
MySpace: 35 percent of men vs. 26 percent of women, LinkedIn: 25 percent of men vs. 16 percent of women, and Twitter: 53 percent of men vs. 38 percent of women.

6. Dads are more likely than moms to have a MySpace account or a Twitter account, 43 percent vs. 29 percent and 50 percent vs. 32 percent, respectively.

Liberty Mutual conducted the Social Media and Personal Responsibility Survey to initiate a dialogue about behaviors online. The survey is part of Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project, an online community that uses entertaining content, including short films, blogs, advertising and television programming, as catalysts for examining the decisions that confront people trying to “do the right thing.”

“Liberty Mutual created the Responsibility Project to initiate organic discussions about personal responsibility and what it means to each individual,” said Paul Alexander, senior vice president, communications, Liberty Mutual Group. “As social media continues to permeate our society, there are many situations in which people just don’t know the right way to act online. A lot of people are figuring it out. This survey taps into the opinions and mindset of American adults who are active online, particularly when it comes to work, education, relationships and parenting.”

The survey also shed light on social media users’ opinions of what is considered responsible and irresponsible when it comes to online behavior. In particular, Liberty Mutual questioned respondents about social media in the workplace, in a relationship, during school and parenting. Key insights from the survey include:


In the Workplace: Facebook and blogs are considered irresponsible, but checking personal email is viewed as acceptable. An overwhelming 73 percent of people think it’s unacceptable to update a Facebook page or read a blog unrelated to work while at work. However, 66 percent believe checking personal email is acceptable at work. When asked to identify the most unacceptable online activity at work, 82 percent said uploading a personal photo to a social media profile.

Relationship Etiquette: Post break-up; it is viewed as irresponsible by most (54 percent) to “friend” an ex’s family member on Facebook. However, 60 percent of respondents believe “un-friending” an ex is completely responsible and 51 percent are okay with “un-friending” an ex’s family or friends.

Classroom Controversy: Social media users are split on whether or not it’s responsible for social media and schools to mix. Forty-six percent of respondents believe it’s inappropriate for a teacher to have a public social media profile, while 43 percent believe it’s appropriate. When it comes to disciplining a child for inappropriate behavior that occurs out of school and that is broadcast online, 77 percent think it is unacceptable to punish that student at the school. The majority of social media users (81 percent) think it is irresponsible for teachers to “friend” current students (ages 5-18) on Facebook.

Parents Speak Out: Most parents who allow their child(ren) to use social media say they monitor their child’s social media activity until 18 years of age (72 percent). Social media has become a way for parents to interact with their children; 69 percent of parents are “friends” with their child(ren) online. In addition, those parents who monitor their child’s account are more likely to be “friends” with their child online – 82 percent compared to only 35 percent of parents who do not monitor their child’s account.

Other Notable Survey Findings

Despite common misperceptions, grandparents are active online and use social media. The Social Media and Personal Responsibility Survey asked 100 grandparents across the country how they currently use social media. Interestingly, 93 percent of grandparents said they use Facebook to connect with friends, while 89 percent use it to connect with family.

Staying in touch with friends is by far the most common reason for social media users to use their accounts. Ninety-five percent of Facebook users say they use it to stay in touch with friends, while 81 percent of MySpace users connect with friends on that network, 55 percent of Twitter users use it to connect with friends and 52 percent of LinkedIn users connect with friends on that network.

Pets and social media don’t mix according to the survey. Seventy-two percent of social media users view this negatively, saying it is “egotistical,” a “waste of time,” “absurd” or “inappropriate” to develop a social media profile for a pet.

Individuals are encouraged to join the conversation and voice their opinion about social media by visiting The Responsibility Project Web site and online community at

About the Survey

The “Social Media and Personal Responsibility Survey” was fielded for Liberty Mutual and The Responsibility Project between January 12-15, 2010, reaching 1,000 adults nationwide. Oversamples of 100 additional 18-24 year old social media users and 100 additional grandparents who are social media users were also reached. The base sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

About The Responsibility Project

The Responsibility Project, created by Liberty Mutual, is an organic evolution of the company’s advertising campaign that has showcased personal acts of responsibility and daily examples of ordinary people making the decision to do considerate things for strangers. These ads featured the tagline, “Responsibility. What’s your policy?” Through The Responsibility Project, Liberty Mutual is using entertaining content, including independently produced short films, blogs, articles, advertising and television programming, as catalysts for examining the decisions that confront people trying to “do the right thing.”

The Responsibility Project’s online community launched in the beginning of 2008, and to date there have been more than six million unique visitors to the site. Individuals can participate in online conversations about personal responsibility and watch and discuss live-action and animated short films at The Responsibility Project Web site and online community at

About Liberty Mutual Group

Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is a diversified global insurer and fifth largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2008 direct written premium. The Company also ranks 86th on the Fortune 500 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2008 revenue. As of December 31, 2008, Liberty Mutual Group had $104.3 billion in consolidated assets, $94.2 billion in consolidated liabilities and $28.9 billion in annual consolidated revenue.

Liberty Mutual Group offers a wide range of insurance products and services, including personal automobile, homeowners, workers compensation, commercial multiple peril, commercial automobile, general liability, global specialty, group disability, assumed reinsurance, fire and surety.

Liberty Mutual Group ( employs over 45,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

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