Episode 247 - Carol Scott: Frequency and Engagement: Analyses of Emerging Adults' Social Media Use

Monday, September 10, 2018, 7:59:02 AM

Image of Carol Scott, MSW

In this episode, our guest Carol Scott, MSW, discusses her work examining emerging adults' social media use and the risks to their well-being. She describes the importance of understanding the distinction between frequency and engagement in the study of social media use and offers guidelines for talking with emerging adults about their use of social media.

Download MP3 (22.9 MB)

Audio Transcript PDF document.

Listener Reviews

7 Reviews
5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
Average Listener Review

Average Rating: 3.9 stars (7 listener reviews )

Share your thoughts with others

Create Your Own Review

Average Rating: 4stars  review, Tuesday, February 09, 2021

By Megan :

It was interesting learning about the frequency of social media use combined with the importance of engagement. I think it is very useful to current research in learning more about how social media affects/will affect emerging adults. This was especially interesting to listen to during the COVID pandemic when this population has been stranded at home and has so much more down time to use social media. I agree with her statement that not all social media is bad, but the very things she said about it decreasing depression and increasing social support can sometimes be true but are also a negative of social media as well. Overall, Carol Scott did a wonderful job explaining her research and is clearly very passionate and knowledgeable about this subject. I’m interested to follow her research to see the after-effects further in the life of this population.

Flag This


Average Rating: 3stars  a good start to social media research in the digital age, Monday, February 10, 2020

By Liz :

Carol Scott's research on the use of social media by individuals and its impacts (both negative and positive) was enlightening regarding general social work practice as we engage with micro, macro, and mezzo levels. Scott's main findings in her research evidence that it is not the quantity of time one spends, but rather the quality and engagement during the time spent using social media that matters. As someone who has a master's degree in digital technologies and practices, I was hoping to hear new research findings that illuminate the social, individual, cognitive, and self-esteem impacts based on the use (engagement) with social media. Unfortunately, at the time of this recording, Carol Scott's research was limited to focusing on the differences and impacts of social media use rather than the consequences and effects of how the human psyche responds to the various types of engagement. She does point out that social media "is not the devil" stating that like anything in humanity, technology, and society, there are both positive and destructive qualities and affordances. As a future LCSW interested in individual therapy in the realms of trauma therapy and couples counseling, I was hoping to gain insight into how social media and the habits of use and engagement impact modern issues of identity, self-worth, offline behavior, and offline human relationships. I look forward to reading the continued work of Carol Scott and theorists/researches in this field.

Flag This


Average Rating: 5stars  podcast review, Sunday, February 09, 2020

By Juliette :

The topic of social media use and the impact of it is one that I find interesting and especially important in todays society. Carol Scott's discussion of her work on social media use of emerging adults was enlightening. There was an emphasis on the many differences between the two uses of social media, engagement and frequency. Scott mentions the fact that the amount of time we spend on social media has nothing to do with how we use social media, and how important this is to be aware of in the field of social work. It was found that the higher engaged users had a more frequent alcohol intake, and were also more likely to have a higher SES. Due tot he fact that social media is such a prominent aspect to our world today it is important that we pay attention to the topic, and the influence social media has on people and society as a whole.
One point Scott focused on was how important it is to understand the positive sides of social media. Since technology and social media use are only going to continue to evolve, it is important that we focus on how we can use them to our advantage, and benefit from them. I really enjoyed this podcast and stand by the importance and relevance of this topic, and the work that is being done around it.

Flag This


Average Rating: 4stars  episode 247, Sunday, February 10, 2019

By Serena :

I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast by Carol Scott. I found it quite thought provoking. Social media is often cast in such a negative light. While it is clear that social media will continue to have a strong presence in our lives, little is known about its long and short term effects. Carol Scott explained the difference between frequency and engagement and what that means for us and where we stand compared to others.

Scott spoke with enthusiasm about the topic. Social media is nearly all encompassing, it has changed the way we live almost entirely. While we know there are risks to social media, the details are less clear. I was surprised to learn that those who are most at risk are those who are perceived as being more financially secure. Those of a higher socio-economic status tend to have higher engagement level, placing them at an elevated risk. I found this surprising because typically we see those who are at a lower socio-economic as at risk.

To be honest this podcast made me feel a bit better about my own social media use. I struggle to find the balance within my own life. My entire day involves the use of technology, knowing how much is too much is a struggle. Scott, however, does not see technology as a bad thing. It has opened so many doors for people. While balance may be important, acceptance of social media’s place in this world is also valuable.

Instead of fighting against change we have to grow with it and embrace it. Integrating social media into our practice and asking our clients about their usage can help us to better understand them. We may also be able to take proactive steps to help protect those at risk. Social media is a growing area of interest and I’m looking forward to learning more about this topic as research on it expands.

Flag This


Average Rating: 4stars  a great start to discussing frequency and engagement on social media, Saturday, February 09, 2019

By Chloe :

In this podcast, Carol Scott, MSW, successfully opens the door in discussing frequency and engagement among emerging adult’s social media use. Carol’s extensive research on the topic reveals that past literature has relied heavily on frequency, when it’s engagement that appears to have a greater impact on emerging adults. Dividing both frequency and engagement into three specific profiles (low, moderate, high) clearly defines which category a young adult would fall into. As Carol concludes for this particular study, it is not about how much time an individual spends on social media that matters, but rather what an individual does online. Carol’s research opens many doors to further researching this topic in the future, which she touches on in the podcast. It will be interesting to see if personality drives the level of engagement and frequency or if there is another unknown factor at play. I look forward to reading more research on emerging adult’s engagement with social media!

Flag This


Average Rating: 4stars  complexities of emerging adulthood, Friday, February 08, 2019

By Meg :

The idea of emerging adulthood is one that I have recently become aware of, but I think that this new category opens up the research for more in-depth studies of this age range and the particular challenges that they face. I like that you are studying this age range because I feel there is not much focus on them, but my one critique would be the way in which you got your participants, as it seems they are paid to participate in the survey. As for you measures I am so happy that you decided to distinguish the difference between those who are frequent users of social media and those who are frequent posters. If you were to look at my social media, one would think that I am not a frequent user, but in reality I am on for close to an hour a day. Great job in your research and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

Flag This


Average Rating: 3stars  interesting start, Saturday, February 02, 2019

By Anonymous :

I think that this is an interesting and informative discussion about the use of social media. The information is well researched and the discussion provides an interesting insight into some aspects of social media that influence young people. I think that the discussion of the three types of engagement was the most accurate conceptualization of the nature of the individuals on social media: the lurkers, the posters, and the reactors. Those three categories neatly sum up the way people engage on social media. However, I think that is still an area with which older individuals lack a deep insight into. I think that younger generations who grew up with social media have a better idea of the influence it has. Carol Scott’s research approached people between the ages of 18 to 26 which is a good demographic to gain data on the nature of social media use due to their familiarity with it, however, the questions asked are still somewhat dated. I think future research should include inquiries about what sites are being using, what kind of information is being engaged with, who the people are engaging with, and what kinds of circles the person in involved with online. While posting pictures and interacting with friends is a key part of social media, the platform has evolved far beyond that simple function. The internet is a constantly evolving place and it can be difficult for researchers to keep up with if large amounts of their time isn’t devoted to observing it. Overall I think the discussion was a great starting place for the discussion of social media and young adults, but it only scratches the surface of the issue.

Flag This

DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.