New research from strategic communications consultancy, SenateSHJ, has revealed that the power of social media to influence people’s behaviour is growing as Australians tune out other sources of information. The latest Togetherness Index showed that despite concerns about the risk of misinformation on social media, it is becoming as effective as communication from Government, business and the media.
Key findings from the research include:
- Almost two fifths (37 per cent) of Australians see the information they find on social media, from sources other than friends and family, as effective in keeping them informed. This is the same level as the Federal Government, and higher than business, community leaders and the media.
- The effectiveness of community leaders fell to 36 per cent from 40 per cent, with people less likely to act on information from these sources compared to a year earlier.
- There are now fewer people who believe business communication is effective (29 per cent, down from 34 per cent). Just 27 per cent say it is trustworthy, and only a fifth will act on what they hear from business.
Jodie Wrigley, Head of Health and Social Change at SenateSHJ, said: “We have seen a rise in misinformation on social media in the wake of COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, and the Federal Election, which is seen as more effective than media, business and community leaders in keeping us informed. People are feeling fatigued, meaning we need to try harder to reach them.”
SenateSHJ's Managing Partner, Darren Behar, added: “The data indicates it’s never been more important to ensure people are turning to trusted sources online, and how to pick up on misinformation.”
The Togetherness Index is based on a survey of 1,000 Australians, exploring what components of communication contribute to togetherness, or social cohesion, within the community. The full report can be found here