On Second Thought, People Choose Sex Over Facebook
A new study from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand makes the bold claim that sex is the most enjoyable human activity. But the study also claims checking Facebook is the second lowest-ranked activity, just behind recovering from illness. This represents a very different view of people and their technology than many earlier studies.
The new study sought to find what activities made people the most happy, and discovered that activities can cause happiness in three broad categories: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. Sex ranked first in all three.
Of course, right? But a study last year found somewhat different conclusions: that many people (30% of women and 20% of men) would rather abstain from sex for a week than go without their smartphones for the same time. And presumably, those men and women want to use their smartphones for checking social media and sending messages.
And the New Zealand study didn’t just find that social media ranked below sex: the study found social media interactions like Facebook and texting to rank near the very bottom of all activities.
That just doesn’t sound right, based on both cold hard facts (like the skyrocketing use of social media and smartphones) and on anecdotal evidence of anyone who knows someone (or is someone) who has a mobile device surgically attached to their hand.
Maybe the explanation is that people don’t like checking Facebook, but feel they have to. A consumer satisfaction survey in 2010 found that Facebook ranked near the bottom of private sector companies- tellingly, getting similar approval ratings to public utilities. So perhaps users see their posting and ranting like an obligation to stay in touch with the world.
What do you think? How would you rank Facebook as an activity?