Survey shows how Covid-19 has affected social media and personal behavior

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, more Australians have been telling white lies to avoid social events or spending time with family, but people have become more sincere on social media and at work, a new study has found.

A study conducted by creative transformation firm WPP through a YouGov survey of 2,000 respondents also found that people are less likely to stay in unhappy relationships to avoid being alone.

Data from 2018 showed that 49% of people misrepresented their lives on social media, but that figure has now dropped to 11%.

Meanwhile, in 2018, 52% regularly lied to their employers, compared to 28% currently.

Only 19% will stay in unhappy relationships to avoid being single, down from 27% four years ago.

Another 42 percent reported their whereabouts to family or friends, up from 27 percent four years ago.

The data also showed that 29% of respondents used work as an excuse not to spend time with them, up nine percent.

Millennials and Generation Z lie more often than Generation X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation.

Rach Wilson, a mother of four, who has two children under the age of five with autism, is one of those who is now more sincere on social media, sharing her struggles and triumphs.

The relationship coach from Queensland had to take a break from his Diving Relating business and turned to Facebook and Instagram to share his family’s journey, which helped build a community of support.

“Initially, my social media was mostly about business and a small part of my social life … so 95% of it was very positive,” she told NCA NewsWire.

“Then we had two autistic children. My son in particular had a lot of problems and we went through what we call a “hell year”… and during that time I had nothing to write about.

“But what I really knew was that everyone was following our journey as we had a traumatic birth when we found out he was autistic when we started going through the process of what that meant and then when we were going through hellish year.

“Some of the hardships and difficulties involved in dealing with this, I would share briefly, but especially since we got out of it and really had to move from a mode of survival to prosperity.”

Ms Wilson said that through more authentic use of social media, her friends were able to learn about autism, people were praying for them, and recently, when her son was in the hospital with pneumonia, people were offering help in any way they could.

“It opened up a lot more support and community for us when we were really honest about the things we were struggling with,” she said.

“Things don’t always go the way we plan, and showing how I adjust and showing how I have moments where I still cry and fall apart, feel grief and disappointment … I have always said that vulnerability is something which builds trust.” and connections with people.

“I just proved that this is absolutely true. Not only with your partner and your best friends, this is actually the case in your community as well.”

WPP Australia and New Zealand President Rose Herceg said that when the first Secrets and Lies report was released in 2018, it was the first study of its kind in the world.

“The study for this chapter was conducted immediately after the federal election at the end of May 2022,” the report says.

“We revisited the key themes covered in the first five reports by asking the same questions to measure changes in perception over the past four years.

“Some of the findings are surprising. Others are shocking. Fortunately, many are also encouraging.”

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Only 56% of respondents believe that there is fairness in Australia today, compared to 77% in 2018;
  • Perceptions of prosperity also dropped from 77 percent to 65 percent;
  • Another 81% say that in 2022 there is nothing more important than kindness;
  • But 30% admitted to hurting someone physically or emotionally, 61% are jealous of the good fortune of others, and 15% regularly troll someone online;
  • Another 40% of non-English speaking Australians said they were reminded of their roots during the pandemic; as well as
  • Companies that use buzzwords make it harder to get to the bottom of the truth 87% of respondents compared to 81% last year, and 84% now read information about a product or service and wonder why it was not written more simply.

Originally published as It turned out: why we lie less on social networks