There’s no place like TikTok? More than seven in 10 (73%) Americans find it easier to relate to strangers in online communities than to people they know in real life.
A recent survey of 2,000 U.S. adults discovered 45% attribute this to being more comfortable communicating in written and visual form, and 43% said they can chat with their virtual pals for longer periods of time.
More than a third (35%) feel a strong sense of community when discussing their favorite media, such as movies and books, online.
However, when it comes to trends, men feel more pressured than women to read the latest trending book to keep up with everyone else (71% vs. 62%).
Overall, over half (55%) are part of a hobby-based community, with visual arts (29%), reading (28%) and gaming (28%) proving the most popular.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ThriftBooks, the survey also discovered social platforms are often the place to find recommendations or reviews for TV shows or series (59%), movies (56%) and books (52%). In particular, men are more likely than women to rely on social media for book (68% vs. 58%) and movie (62% vs. 52%) suggestions.
Seven in 10 (71%) were intrigued to learn more about a book because of a conversation on social media.
And it doesn’t stop there — 54% are “always” or “often” on a social platform while reading a book, more so than while watching a movie (46%).
But being so engaged online often leads to FOMO, especially when it comes to movies (57%) and TV shows or series (55%). Interestingly, Gen Z only is more afraid to miss out on reading (63%) than on series (49%), concerts (44%) and sporting events (37%).
Forty percent usually first hear of trending reads through social media, compared to 20% who rely on word of mouth.
And 46% have been more envious of a #Shelfie, an image of someone’s bookshelf, than a selfie.
Readers are also getting literal about their literary picks, as 46% have found the “book” in Facebook, in addition to using Instagram (42%) and YouTube (42%) for book recommendations.
“Readers around the world have embraced social media as a way to connect with fellow book lovers, share their favorite picks, and bring beloved characters to life,” said a spokesperson for ThirftBooks. “It’s also a great way for people to find communities around their favorite books or authors that may not always be in their vicinity.”
Some use social media to exercise their bragging rights. While members of Gen Z are most likely to highlight how many episodes of a series they’ve binge-watched (67%), they’ll also brag about dressing up as a character from a favorite book (58%) and proudly share the number of books they’ve read or own (49%).
Shared interests can bring people together, but disparate ones aren’t necessarily deal-breakers — especially among Gen Z respondents, who are more likely to befriend or start a relationship with someone who doesn’t like the same book than other generations (86%).
“From #BookTok to book club roundups, social media is a great gift-giving resource for the book lovers in your life, and can inspire your own wish lists, as well,” the spokesperson added.