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Study: Fifth of young women do midnight Facebook checks

Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research offers interesting and disturbing suggestions about how the social network has become integral part of users' inner and outer lives.

There is no point bemoaning what the world is coming to, because it's patently obvious that the world has no idea.

So we look for signs that might indicate tendencies, patterns or merely sicknesses.

How, therefore, could one not be mesmerized by a study by Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research that offers so many edible nuggets about how Facebook has altered people's lives?

This fine piece of investigation asks simple questions and gets simple, if happily disturbing, answers. It shows how we use media such as Facebook to express our inner beings. It also shows just how maddeningly contradictory humans are and, naturally, how desperate to be loved.

According to this study, 53 percent of young women post details of their personal problems on Facebook. No wonder people are reading fewer novels. Why worry about Anna Karenina's troubles when you can read about Anna from Accounts?

CC Liquene/Flickr

Some 42 percent of women aged 18 to 34 seem to think it's just fine to post pictures of themselves in a state of "visible intoxication", but 63 percent use Facebook for networking and their careers.

But please put that seemingly wrinkled contradiction together with this finding: 54 percent of women aged 18 to 24 don't trust Facebook with their information. So is Facebook the bad boy to whom they somehow always end up telling their problems?

You will be glad to hear there is more.

Apparently, as soon as they are awake and semi-alert, 34 percent of young women go to Facebook before they go to the bathroom. Clearly, they are bursting to know what is going on amongst their friends and, apparently, their frenemies. Yes, this survey suggests that 58 percent of women aged 18 to 34 use Facebook to keep tabs on those people whom they kind of like, kind of hate, and kind of fear.

Leaving aside the need to Facebook before brushing your teeth, scraping your tongue or peeing, the stat that truly made me contemplate a move to parts un-wi-fied was the one that said 21 percent of women aged 18 to 34 check Facebook in the middle of the night. It is unclear whether the middle of the night is actually when they return home in a state of visible or, indeed, risible intoxication.

But if it is true that these young women are waking up in the middle of the night, in some kind of excitable state, desperate to see if someone has posted pictures of themselves with their new boyfriend, girlfriend or friend of indeterminate nature, then what hope is there for modern psychiatry?

The survey did seem to offer fewer insights and, indeed, fewer surprises when it comes to men. Though I was thoroughly disturbed that 20 percent of men use Facebook to hook up. Only 20 percent?