Is Facebook Losing its Appeal? A Report on the Social Media Usage in the Trucking Industry


Why Facebook?

Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform with over a billion of active daily users (Great Speculations & Trefis Team, 2015). Facebook allows users to create a public profile through which users can connect with people and build their network (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). Truck drivers spend a significant amount of their time on the road, away from family and social groups. Therefore, staying connected through social networking sites like Facebook can be an effective resource for communication and networking. Social networking sites mediate the relationship between individual and society through a virtual world (Wasserman & Faust, 1994).  As there exists no clear terminology, social networking sites and social media are used synonymously in research (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). The present report does the same.

The Trend of Social Media Usage.

Stay Metrics asks drivers whether they use social media or not. When the question was introduced in 2015, 57.6 % drivers reported using social media, and this number has steadily increased over the years (Figure 1). In 2016, social media usage among drivers reached 59.4% which ultimately rose to 60.8% in 2017. This number reached 61.8% on April 15, 2018.

Figure 1

In contrast with the increasing number of social media users, there has been a decline in the number of Facebook users (Figure 2) suggested by responses to the question, “which social media platform do you use most often?” In 2015 drivers were given only three options: Facebook, Twitter, and None of these. The number of options (e.g., Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat) has increased as the number of popular platforms has increased. In 2018, the respondents had 8 options (Figure 2). Although Facebook showed a declining trend of usage over years [2015 = 97.5%; 2016 =95.3%; 2017 = 85.4%; 2018 (until April 15) = 85.7%], it is still the most used social media, in comparison with other social media [2015 = 2.6%; 2016 = 4.8%; 2017 = 14.5%; 2018 (until April 15) = 14.3%].

Figure 2

Future Avenues.

The strong increase in other social media usage poses some questions, especially in this time of data privacy controversy. It would be interesting to examine whether these changes in trends are restricted only to the unique nature of the trucking industry or they are also prevalent in other industries. Feedback from switchers, who previously used Facebook most of the times, can shed some light on this issue. Students’ usage of Facebook and their relationship with personality traits and engagement has already been studied by researchers (e.g., Gosling, Augustine, Vazire, Holtzman, & Gaddis, 2011; Junco, 2012) with inconsistent results. Future investigation of pertinent variables (intrinsic element of job satisfaction or work itself, stresses, and work-family conflict are some common domain of concerns in the trucking industry), and their relationship with social media usage (Facebook vs. Other social media) might help us to better understand the driver socialization process.



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