The urge to check Twitter and email can be harder to resist than the lure of drugs and alcohol, according to a new study to be published in the journal Psychological Science. This means that when people joke about being "addicted" to the Internet or not being able to live without their "CrackBerry," it's about as funny as an alcoholic "joking" about mainlining Duff Beer "directly to veins!" If you think social media is destroying someone you love, be sure to share this blog post with them on Facebook.
The Guardian reports that a team from Chicago University used BlackBerrys to gauge the willpower of 205 people between 18 and 85 in and around the German city of Würtzburg. Researchers say this is the first study to monitor such responses "in the wild" outside a laboratory. The participants were asked seven times a day if they were experiencing a desire at that moment or had experienced one within the last 30 minutes, as well as what type of desire was, "the strength (up to irresistible), whether it conflicted with other desires and whether they resisted or went along with it."
Participants reported a desire for tobacco, alcohol and coffee less frequently than the desire to check their emails or Twitter, and they were much more likely to give into cravings for social or other media. Lust for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of its high availability and also because it feels like it does not "cost much" to engage in these activities. Head researcher Wilhelm Hofmann tells the Guardian:
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, even though one wants to resist. 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
Who taught you how to Tweet this stuff? @YOU ALL RIGHT! I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING @YOU! [Via The Awl]