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Surprising Science

Kit Kat Gives You A Break, A Social Media Break

What is the Big Idea?

Nestle, the purveyors of Kit Kat candy bars, is launching a new app that gives social media users a break by posting status updates on their behalf. 

Social Break automatically sends status updates to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. It is currently available for free at

What is the Significance?

While the application is a marketing gimmick, the developers behind the software, ad agency JWT, say it also highlights a serious problem among younger users, especially in Asia: growing stress about time spent maintaining a presence on social networks, according to Reuters

JWT surveyed 900 19-26 year olds in China, Singapore and the United States and found that more than half considered it too time-consuming to keep up with all their social media obligations and that time spent on such sites had a negative impact on their job or studies. 

Young people face increasing pressures to maintain their social media presence, responding to friends’ requests to comment on or “like” their posts, photographs or other updates.

Nearly two thirds of Chinese surveyed said they felt pressure to be in constant contact on social media and 58 percent said social media obligations caused them anxiety.

“Social media used to be fun. It shouldn’t be an obligation, it shouldn’t be another life we have to maintain,” says Valerie Cheng, executive creative director of JWT’s Singapore, which was hired by Nestle to develop the app.

Asia is home to some of the biggest social media populations in the world. Socialbakers, a service which monitors usage, lists Indonesia, India and the Philippines among the top 10 countries on Facebook.

Fifty seven percent of Singapore’s population is on Facebook. China has by far the world’s most active social media population, with 91 percent of respondents saying they visited a social media site in the previous six months, compared with 30 percent in Japan and 67 percent in the United States, according to survey published by consultants McKinsey last month.

Photo courtesy of Anke van Wyk/


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