Social Interaction and Social Media At Airport Departure Gates
- Social Interaction; Social Media
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An observational study was conducted at airline departure gates in several U.S. and European countries. Thirty-second observations were randomly made of 1360 different individuals ranging in age from infants to the elderly, although 79% of the travelers were adults. Most of the individuals were traveling with someone, except for adults who were more often traveling alone (58% vs. 42% time). Of the different types of social interaction and social media observed, cell phone texting/scrolling was significantly more frequently observed (at 53% time) than cell phone talking (13 % time), face-to-face interaction (13% time), on computer (7%) and touching (4%) which was the least frequently observed behavior. Significantly more cell phone texting/scrolling time occurred when adults were traveling alone (58% time). These data suggest that airline travelers are spending significantly more airport departure gate time on social media (specifically cell phone texting/scrolling) than face-to-face interaction or touching. Unfortunately, the observations that were made by professors and students were from too great a distance (10 feet away) in order to be unobtrusive but unable to code the precise type of cell phone texting/scrolling that was occurring.
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