A majority of Brazilian and Chinese users of digital media agree that it's changed their lives for the better. But Germans and Americans are far less enthusiastic about the effect it's had on their lives.

This is among the conclusions drawn from a study of 5,000 global digital media users. The research was conducted and released by the World Economic Forum and Willis Towers Watson. The results suggest that, worldwide, the jury is still out on digital media's true efficacy. Many still view it as something they have to adapt to, rather than an asset that enhances their personal and professional lives. But most agree that it boosts performance at work. For instance, the study found:

  • More than half of respondents (56 percent) said digital media has transformed the way they work;

  • More than four in 10 respondents (41 percent) agree that social media improves their work effectiveness;

  • About two-thirds said digital media has improved their ability to do their work, learn and develop professionally, and collaborate with colleagues;

  • About 60 percent say digital media has improved their ability to maintain balance between work and personal life, build relationships with professional contacts and find work;

  • Half of the respondents agree that digital media has improved the quality of their professional lives;

  • Only 14  percent say it has not improved the quality of their professional lives;

  • Only 14 percent said it reduces their work effectiveness.

Digital media is far more embedded at work than outside the workspace, the study reported.

"Users spend the most amount of time connected online for work purposes (32 percent spend more than three hours a day online for this purpose) and information or learning."

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.