Resolving the conflict between what consumers say and do – findings from the Future Foundation

Katherine Kam

Some 44% of British consumers who use sites like Facebook and Twitter wish they "could be more like the person I describe myself as on social media." When allowing for probable under-reporting, it is reasonable to assume that half the UK's social media population believe they are effectively putting on a face for their online friends.

This was one of the headline findings from the Future Foundation's nVision Spring Conference, entitled "Where the Truth Lies". The hypothesis of The Big Lie, the organisation's upcoming book, formed the basis of this event, and deals with the growing strength of social norms in the online and offline worlds.

Meabh Quoirin, the Future Foundation's managing director, and Christophe Jouan, its chief executive, described how these norms push people to say and do things that don't fit in with their personal beliefs, despite being part of a society that supposedly celebrates minorities and counter-cultures.

Individualism versus collectivism