How often do you check your Facebook? What about Twitter? Are you on Friendfeed more times in a day than you talk to your colleagues at work? You're not alone. According to a new study, people under the age of 35 are highly addicted to social media.
According to a "Gadgetology study" done by consumer electronics shopping site Retrevo.com, people under 35 are highly addicted to social media. If video games and television were yesterday's time-wasting treat, social media is today's drug of choice.
So what were some of the alarming stats? According to Retrevo's study, 27 percent of respondents under 35 admitted to checking Facebook more than 10 times per day. A whopping 56 percent said they check it anywhere from one to 10 times per day. That is a total of 83 percent of young people logging onto Facebook as many as 10 times per day.
"What surprised us most was the fact that many respondents never seemed to take time off from social media," Jennifer Jacobson, Public Relations Director for Retrevo.com, said in an email interview with DigitalJournal.com. "They do it on vacation, at work, [and even] after intimate moments. Social media is a big part of their lives."
So much so around 36 percent of respondents admitted to checking out social media sites after sex. What happened to cigarettes?
The survey revealed an interesting set of distinctions between people younger than 35 compared to people older than 35. According to the report, people under the age of 35 tweet, text or check Facebook almost everywhere they are:
• 36% do it after sex
• 40% do it while driving
• 64% do it at work
• 65% do it on vacation
"We believe these findings are an indicator of significant changes in the way people communicate, and that they are not likely to die down until another method of communication overtakes it," said Jacobson. "The adoption of social media takes time. Social media has become approachable for the masses. You don't need to know a programing language or complicated Web authoring tools to have a home online where your friends and followers can connect with you. That accessibility is attractive to a lot of people."
So what or who is to blame for young people's social media addiction? According to the survey, the rise in popularity of the smart phone is the main culprit:
In the Gadgetology study only 19 percent of the older set (35+) use a phone as the preferred device for social media services with 81 percent preferring instead a desktop or laptop computer. Over on the other side of the generation gap we found 46 percent of those younger than 35 indicating their preference for a mobile device for all things social media.
When it comes to indulging in social media after sex, you can blame men and the iPhone -- the survey reports that men are twice as likely to exhibit this behaviour, and iPhone users are three times more likely than Blackberry owners to log on to these sites.
"Young people seem to adapt quickly to new technology, and social media can be a positive force for traditional media," said Jacobson. "While some media companies may be scratching their heads, wondering how to connect with the 'digital generation,' those who figure out how to do it will be better positioned for success."
And for those of you out there shaking your fists at Facebook for its impact on today's youth, you may want to shift the blame to Twitter. The survey shows 39 percent of Twitter users admit to checking the service more than 10 times per day (compared to 27 percent who check Facebook just as often).
Retrevo, a shopping site for consumer electronics, says it conducted the survey because it is interested in how and why people interact with technology.
"Because social media is accessible by gadgets like cellphones, laptops, and notebooks, and because it seemed to represent a growing shift in communication, we thought it deserved to be studied," said Jacobson.
Retrevo says its report was conducted by an independent panel and the sample size was 771 "distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States." The responses have a confidence interval of 2.8 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.