Men and women of certain age are hooked to social media. If you're reading this, there's a good chance you are too.
New data states that nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults would rather go to jail for the night, clean the shower drains of a local gym, read War and Peace, or do any number of other unpleasant activities than give up their social accounts. This is according to a Harris Interactive survey that was conducted for social networking management service MyLife.com and that examined the social media fixations of 2,037 U.S. adults.
One of the study's findings is particularly depressing: People in relationships seem to be less wrapped up in their virtual social lives than singles are. While the difference isn't monumental, it is telling. According to Harris, 63 percent of all Americans say they're afraid of missing news, important events or status updates if they don't keep an eye fixed on their precious Facebook News Feeds or Twitter streams. That stat jumps to 72 percent for those without significant others.
Though the survey didn't venture to guess why singles behave differently than non-singles, we'll spitball: Couples, presumably, are preoccupied with going out to dinner, seeing movies and doing other date-y things, therefore they're less glued to social media than their single counterparts. And on the flip side, singles have more time to themselves and can fiddle more with their online profiles. In fact, there's a batch of social networks dedicated to exclusively to singles: dating sites. Some of these services, like theComplete.me and Circl.es are even syncing up with Facebook to help users find true love.
We're painting with very broad strokes here, obviously. We're definitely not suggesting that all singles are awkward introverts who only interact with the world through a computer, or that all daters are social butterflies who live only IRL.
Even so, there's a point to be made. Mega-networks like Facebook want to be a seamless extension of our real lives. But it seems one thing social networks have an awfully hard time fully simulating -- for reasons a family newspaper won't get into --is dating.