When social networking users were asked for one word to describe their experiences using social networking sites, “good” was the most common response. Overall, positive responses far outweighed the negative and neutral words that were associated with social networking sites (more than half of the respondents used positive terms). Users repeatedly described their experiences as “fun,” “great,” “interesting” and “convenient.” Less common were superlatives such as “astounding,” “necessity,” and “empowering.”
However, negative responses were recorded for roughly one in five respondents who answered this question and these answers included a far more diverse array of adjectives and, at times, expletives. Frustrations were evident among respondents who described their experiences using the networks as “annoying,” “overwhelming,” “boring,” “confusing” and “overrated.” Many respondents offered the words “addictive” or “addicting” as the first thing that came to their mind, while a sizable ambivalent group said their experiences had simply been “okay.” These neutral descriptions were also quite varied, though terms that indicated little experience with the sites—such as “Rarely,” “Seldom” or “Occasionally”—were common in this group.
Because the open-ended question asked respondents to “use one single word to describe your experiences using social networking sites,” the adjectives that were shared point to both the user’s interactions on the sites and the functionality of the interface. For instance, one user described her experiences on the sites as “noisy” while another used the word, “glitches.”