Months into social distancing due to COVID-19, all Americans have been navigating a digital lifestyle. Everything from meetings to birthdays to dating has been taken online turning daily routines into challenges to connect. On the bright side, Americans certainly have plenty of practice with social networking which they have been able to tap into as a means to ease the interruptions to their relationships. Indeed, certain people who have embraced social media more than others are probably having an easier time adjusting to a digital world.
Interestingly, a new study from Teneo, an advisory and consulting firm, reported the most-socially connected states, tallying up which states’ residents had the largest online digital networks. To do so, they asked respondents from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. to report how many social connections and followers they had on six popular social networking apps.
According to the study, the most socially connected state was Kentucky, where residents’ average number of social connections across six different apps was 2,368. A contributing factor to this data could be the number of highly-followed social media influencers in Kentucky. It’s easy to think that in a rural state like Kentucky, where in-person interactions might be less than those in more metropolitan states, being socially connected online only makes sense. Perhaps Kentuckians’ social lives are faring well during social-distancing after all.
Behind Kentucky, other less populous states including Tennessee, Indiana and Alabama also ranked highly for average connection counts, each averaging at least 1,450 social connections from their state’s respondents. Interestingly, studies that have previously analyzed isolation in rural America have looked into how social media networks connect more isolated residents. As a result, built up social networks online may be helping with feelings of loneliness among these Americans.
The survey also looked at the ages of their respondents in order to analyze which generations are dominant across different social media networks. By far, the most impressive usage reports came from Gen Z, which, not surprisingly was dominant on Snapchat, Tik Tok and LinkedIn. Still, the report that Gen Z out-uses others by over 170% on Snapchat is evidence of just how social-media-savvy these users are. Not surprisingly, these young people have been using social media to their advantage during quarantine, waging political trolling efforts and signing influencer deals all without leaving their safe homes.
It looks like in terms of social media networks, rural states and younger users had impressive connection counts. Hopefully, maintaining and leaning into these connections has proven to be helpful and supportive during our times of loneliness.