Is social media the new addiction?

Study Highlights:

Twitter & Facebook:

  • 48% of people check/update FaceBook and/or Twitter after they go to bed

  • 18% of people under 25 years old can't go more than a couple hours without checking in on Facebook

  • 61% of people under 25 have to check in on FaceBook at least once a day

  • 11% of people over 25 years old can't go more than a couple hours without checking in on Facebook

  • 55% of people over 25 have to check in on FaceBook at least once a day

  • 16% of people under 25 years old rely on Twitter and/or FaceBook for the morning "news"
iPhone Users:
  • 28% of iPhone users check/update Twitter before they get out of bed

  • 26% of iPhone users check/update Twitter before they turn on their TV

  • 23% of iPhone users rely on Twitter for their morning news

Electronic Messages:
  • 11% of people under 25 years old can be interrupted by an electronic message during sex (The number drops to 6% of people over 25 years old)

  • 24% of people under 25 can be interrupted by an electronic message while in the bathroom. (This number drops to 12% of people over age 25)

  • 49% of people under 25 years old can be interrupted by an electronic message during a meal. (27% for people over 25 years of age)

  • 22% of people under 25 years old can be interrupted by an electronic message during a meeting. (11% of people over 25 years of age)
About This Study:

The data for this report came from a study of online individuals conducted by an independent panel in 2010. The sample size was just over 1,000 distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States.

Most responses have a confidence interval of 4% at a 95% confidence level.

The Retrevo Gadgetology Report is an ongoing study of people and electronics from the consumer electronics shopping and review site

Editorial Highlights: By Retrevo's Director of Content, Andrew Eisner

What is it about social media that causes people to spend so much of their precious time trading information with friends, family and even giant corporations?

Of course, we already know the answer; it's fun and can be rewarding both socially and financially. The latest Retrevo Gadgetologystudy asked social media users questions such as when, where, and how much time they spend on sites and services like FaceBook and Twitter.

We were not surprised to learn how many people appear to be, shall we say, obsessed with checking in with their social media circles throughout the day and even the night.

Social Media All Through The Night

Not only do social media fanatics check Facebook and Twitter throughout the day, almost half of the respondents said they check in on the social media scene in bed, during the night or as soon as they wake up in the morning.

Naturally, younger social media users said they tweet by night more than those over 25.

Will Twitter Kill the Morning News Shows?

Among social media users, it appears almost half are so involved with FaceBook and Twitter that they check in the first thing in the morning.

With 16% of social media users saying this is how they get their morning news, could we be witnessing the first signs of social media services beginning to replace "Good Morning America" as the source for what's going on in the world? Can they also provide more stimulation than a morning cup of coffee?

Are iPhone Owners More Social?

You have to agree, iPhone owners do think different. We don't know if it's the device making it so easy to do social media things or the personality of an iPhone owner but iPhone owners stand out in this study as more involved with social media; they use FaceBook and Twitter more often and in more places.

Social Media Anonymous

Need more evidence that social media can be habit forming? How about the fact that 56% of social media users need to check FaceBook at least once a day? Even more impressive are the 12% who check in every couple of hours. We Interrupt This Dinner for an Important Message Just to round out the picture, the Gadgetology study asked consumers how they felt about being interrupted at various times and occasions for an electronic message.

With everyone texting away on their phones these days, we weren't surprised to see over 40% of respondents saying they didn't mind being interrupted for a message. Infact, 32% said a meal was not off limits while 7% said they'd even check out a message during an intimate moment.


We're not qualified to declare a societal, social media crisis but when almost half of social media users say they check FaceBook or Twitter sometime during the night or when they first wake up, you have to wonder if these people aren't suffering from some sort of addiction to social media. From this study, it also appears that social media may have begun to replace more conventional sources for news with many social media users saying tweets trump TVs for that morning cup of news.

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About Manish Rathi:

A creative technologist, Manish directs Retrevo's Direct Marketing and User Acquisition activities as well as helping strategically guide the shape of the Retrevo product and its rollout to increasingly broader audiences.

Before Retrevo, Manish was at Extreme Networks, where he was responsible for product management, new product development and technology partnerships. Prior to Extreme, he led the development and implementation of network management systems for FORE systems.

Manish holds three patents and has several patents pending. He attended BITS Pilani, where he earned his BE in Computer Science, and holds an MS from Michigan State.

When not passionately developing and evangelizing Retrevo, Manish enjoys swimming, golf and spending time with his wife and son. When challenged by founders of lesser search engines, he has been known to ask them to step outside. He has always been the only one to come back inside.

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