Social Media SacrificesTechnology can undoubtedly help us become more efficient but it cannot create more hours in the day.

Smartphones, in particular, have set technology free and we are now living in a world where we are all connected all of the time.  Social networking is one of the most popular activities in the connected world and train carriages are now full of people staring at their phones rather than speaking into them…

We thought that it was time to investigate the impact this was having on our daily lives. What sacrifices are we all making to get our social media fix?

We worked with an independent research agency to create a study that examines the UK’s usage of social networking sites and what specific activities are being forfeited in favour of social media.

Please click on the infographic thumbnail to view a summary of the findings from the research.

There are some interesting revelations – particularly in terms of the great gender divide:

  • Women spend a lot more time social networking than men: 60 minutes per day vs. 48.
  • An average UK adult will spend 2 years and four months on social networking sites over their lifetime.
  • Surprising sacrifices including real-life socialising (14%), sleep (10%) and even sex (8%).
  • More women than men are prepared to forfeit household chores in order to use social networking sites.
  • 92% of 18-25 year olds use social networking sites.
  • Regionality has a role to play in social networking, with people in Sheffield spending twice as long (72 minutes per day) as people in Edinburgh (35 minutes).

Based on these results, you might expect every club, bar and social hang-out aimed at young women in Sheffield to be devoid of any customers.

However, we doubt (hope?) that’s (not) the case. As smart phones and our use of social networking sites becomes increasingly sophisticated, these sites become more of an enabler rather than an obstruction to everyday life.

Addiction?

Having said that, there is some evidence of a growing number of social networking extremists and addicts (SNEAs), with a number of clinics claiming to treat this condition.

In a nod to the power these sites can have over our lives, some people have choosen to give up Facebook for Lent or reduce their usage as part of new year’s resolutions.

Perhaps not an epidemic, but I am sure you know someone who you think should spend less time in the virtual world?

The opportunity for brands?

I recently attended a social media marketing roundtable at Econsultancy and what was clear is that social media is seen as a massive opportunity but remains a challenge for many brands.

It’s an easy environment to enter but an extremely challenging one to get right. How can you engage in a way that is appropriate / engaging for your target audience but also satisfy the boardroom’s demand for tangible results?

Yes, there are challenges but it cannot be denied that it is one of the most potent forms of marketing available today and there is no doubt that the use of social media is exploding.

Conclusion?

Make of it what you will but these results clearly show that social networking is making an impact on our daily lives.

I am not sure if I really like some of the results and would personally always rather speak to my friends on the phone rather than get a tweet / message / etc., but it has been interesting to analyse the data and it will be fascinating to watch how social media usage evolves over the coming years.

What do you think? What are you giving up to spend time on social media? We would love to find out so let us know in the comments below!

You are welcome to re-publish the infographic  but we would be grateful if you could credit the source.