The 2017 Sensis Social Media Report was released last month and whilst it provides an in-depth look into the use of social media across Australia on the surface, it also paints a pretty bleak look at societal behaviours overall.

When you look at the report from a social marketing perspective, it’s full to the brim of useful analytics. Surveying more than 800 Australians, the research provides data that is indispensable to us at the agency.  Over 80% of the nation’s internet users are now on social media services. 90% of all internet users across all age brackets (yes that includes your granny and grandpa) are now regularly logging into their Facebook and almost a third are spending 30 minutes a day scrolling through their daily updates.

Across the board, social media platform usage is on the rise. Instagram usage has increased to 46% from 31%, Snapchat from 22% to 40% and perhaps most surprisingly Twitter which has increased from 19% to 32%, despite growing fears of its decline.

Surprisingly, one of the biggest winners from the Sensis report is brands. Interestingly, fewer users stated that they don’t like ads or pay no attention to them, with more people now more likely to engage with a brand’s social presence before making an online purchase. The more followers a brand has, the more likely people are to trust it, helped of course by almost a quarter of the population now following a brand online.

However, when looking deeper into the specifics, the results offer an interesting view on Australian society. Take for example, the number of ‘friends’ we have online. The average number of social media followers has now averaged 469, in comparison to 409 in 2016. Despite the increase in numbers here, actual face-to-face interaction with social media contacts remains the same as it stood back in 2015, 39%. Moreover whilst people are still using social in all the places you’d imagine (slobbing out on the sofa), we’ve become so transfixed by social that 59% of us are checking our networks whilst in the bedroom and the grossest out there (yes, that’s you) are using it whilst on the toilet (14%). This is of course helped by the proliferation of smartphones, which means now more than ever we can be ‘online’ in seconds in comparison to when you’d have to load up the router just to log into MSN Messenger.

All of this can be forgiven of course. Who doesn’t scroll through their news feed when they wake up, or update their Instagram content whilst on the loo at work? We get you, that’s when your fans are most engaged! However, what’s got us most worried is the third of 30-39 year olds who are happy to ignore their family and/or friends at dinner in preference for social media updates.

Yes, we love social and strive to make the internet a more interesting place. But some of the best magic happens when we are eyes up, engaging with and being inspired by everyone and everything around us. It’s these pockets of experience and creativity that enable us to fill our newsfeeds full of content and make social such an amazing tool. Social media is one of the greatest tools available at the touch of a fingerprint and with usage now everywhere, we should be taking responsibility for its impact on society. After all, 88% of 18 to 29 year olds have posted a selfie and you really don’t want that to have been taken whilst on the toilet.