Everyone these days seems to be a part of the social media network with their very own Facebook page. Twitter keeps people busy tweeting away all day long. Every news anchor and reporter talk about their tweets. Everywhere you go, people are busy with their mobile devices. Alcoholic and workaholic were common terms until recently, but mediaholic seems to be the buzzword now.
A recent article in The Guardian reports the findings of a new study to be published in the journal Psychological Science suggesting that social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter are more addictive and difficult to resist than cigarettes or alcohol.
University of Chicago researchers used BlackBerry smartphones to measure how often 205 people succumbed to their social media cravings or other vices. Participants in the seven-day study were polled seven times over 14 hours a day and asked whether they experienced a desire within the last 30 minutes, and if they had resisted. They also were asked to rate the desire on a scale from “mild” to “irresistible.” Overall, there were 10,558 responses and 7,827 instances of desire reported.
The researchers found that the highest self-control failure rates were associated with social media, while participants had more success resisting desires to play sports or spend money.
“Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not ‘cost much’ to engage in these activities,” says lead researcher Wilhelm Hofmann. “With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs—long-term as well as monetary—and the opportunity may not always be the right one. So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still ‘steal’ a lot of people’s time.”
Do you agree with the findings of this study? Are you one of these people who cannot resist social networking?