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Intel Annual ‘Mobile Etiquette’ Study Examines Online Sharing Behaviors Around the World; Global Perception of ‘Oversharing’ Revealed


  • Across the globe, people share information online for two main reasons: connection and expression. The majority of adults and teens report feeling better connected with family and friends because they share online.
  • Most adults and teens say people “overshare” and divulge too much information about themselves online.
  • Nearly all countries surveyed report that mobile manners have become worse compared to a year ago.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 5, 2012 – According to a recent multi-country study commissioned by Intel Corporation and conducted by Ipsos Observer* on “Mobile Etiquette,” the majority of adults and teens around the world are sharing information about themselves online and feel better connected to family and friends because of it. However, the survey also revealed a perception of “oversharing,” with at least six out of 10 adults and teens saying they believe other people divulge too much information about themselves online, with Japan being the only exception.

Intel’s 2012 “Mobile Etiquette” survey examined the current state of mobile etiquette and evaluated how adults and teens in eight countries share and consume information online, as well as how digital sharing impacts culture and relationships. The research was conducted in the United States in March and a follow-up study was conducted in Australia, Brazil, China (adults only), France, India, Indonesia and Japan from June to August.

Intel powers today’s mobile lifestyles with the Intel® Core™ and Intel® Atom™ processor families inside many peoples’ favorite mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops and Ultrabook™ systems). With more people using mobile devices to connect to the Internet, Intel technology also increasingly powers cloud-based services that allow people to create, share and consume content and enjoy amazing digital experiences anytime, anywhere.

As the availability of Internet-enabled mobile devices increases, a continued awareness of how people use these devices is also on the rise. Over 80 percent of adults responding to Intel’s “Mobile Etiquette” survey wish people practiced better etiquette when using mobile devices in public, and the majority of people think mobile manners have become worse, with the exception of adults in China who are more likely than others to believe mobile manners have truly started to improve (compared to a year ago).

The majority of adults and teens around the world share information online at least once a week, with approximately half of adults and teens in Brazil, China and India sharing on a daily basis. The study revealed that we are sharing for two main reasons: connection and expression. The majority of adults and teens said they feel better connected with their family and friends because they are able to share and consume information online via mobile devices, with the exception of adults in Japan who share less frequently. The majority of adults and teens in Brazil, China, India and Indonesia also share online as a way to express opinions or make a statement.

“In today’s society, our mobile technology is making digital sharing ubiquitous with our everyday activities, as evidenced by the findings from Intel’s latest ‘Mobile Etiquette’ survey,” said Dr. Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow and director of user interaction and experience at Intel Labs. “What is most interesting is not necessarily how widespread our use of mobile technology has become, but how similar our reasons are for sharing, regardless of region or culture. The ability to use mobile devices to easily share information about our lives is creating a sense of connection across borders that we’re continuing to see flourish.”

While Intel’s 2012 “Mobile Etiquette” survey revealed that the majority of adults and teens around the world believe others divulge too much information about themselves online, few admit to “oversharing” themselves. Compared to other countries surveyed, only adults in China (77 percent) consider themselves an open book when it comes to online sharing with just over half (51percent) admitting they often share too much personal information online.

“Etiquette is all about how we interact with one another, whether in person or online,” explained author and etiquette expert Anna Post of The Emily Post Institute. “The latest results from Intel’s ‘Mobile Etiquette’ survey clearly show that the question going forward won’t be if we share online, but how we share online. Mobile devices enable us to share in the moment, and etiquette helps us decide how to share and connect in ways that are positive and enhance our relationships.”

As an innovator behind the technology powering mobile devices and mobile lifestyles, Intel is on a continued quest to understand consumers’ changing mobile usage models, how these models impact consumers’ lives and how technology should evolve in the future. This drives Intel innovation to create the technology experiences that people desire and love.

Key Survey Findings

According to the latest Intel survey, approximately half of adults around the world feel overloaded by the amount of information people share online. Yet, adults and teens across the globe are sharing a wide variety of information online, with photos of themselves or people they know cited as one of the top things being shared. Other frequently shared items that adults are likely to share include: announcements of important life events in Australia and the United States; reviews and recommendations in China, France and Japan; sports information in Brazil; and current events in India and Indonesia.

While the survey revealed that digital sharing on mobile devices helps many people feel more connected to others, the tendency to share too much information can annoy others for various reasons. Adults and teens from each country had differing opinions on top digital sharing pet peeves. However, constant complaining, posting inappropriate photos, using profanity and sharing too many life details and personal information were prominent responses.

More than 85 percent of survey respondents across the globe wish people thought more about how others will perceive them when sharing information online. At least one-quarter of adults and one-third of teens around the world, with the exception of Japan and Indonesia, have been embarrassed by something they have done online. Many also admit to having a different personality online and to sharing false information online.

The majority of teens, with the exception of Japan, admit to constantly checking what their friends are sharing online and feeling like they are missing out when they are not able to share or consume information online. Many teens (and adults) around the world are sharing online via their mobile devices in a variety of scenarios including while on vacation and when eating a meal with others.

For additional information on Intel’s annual “Mobile Etiquette” survey, visit

Survey Methodology

The Mobile Etiquette and Digital Sharing survey was conducted online in the United States by Ipsos Observer on behalf of Intel from March 1-16. Respondents were a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults ages 18 and older (n=2,008), with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, and U.S. teens ages 13 to 17. A follow-up online study was conducted from June to August among a nationally representative sample of adults and teens ages 13 to 17 in seven additional countries: Australia, Brazil, China (adults only), France, India, Indonesia and Japan. The sample population in Brazil, India, Indonesia and Japan are based on the online populations.

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