Is social media better than sex?

A new study by Retrevo finds that 40 percent of respondents don't mind being interrupted for a message, and almost 10 percent admit they'd check a message during sex.

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is based in Portland, Oregon, and has written for Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, and public radio. Her semi-obscure hobbies include climbing, billiards, board games that take up a lot of space, and piano.
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
2 min read

Only a few years ago, I could shock people by divulging that I don't own a TV. Since Hulu and others let me get my show fix online, I now seem to be part of a growing minority who only have one kind of box at home.

But I still shock people. All I have to do is admit I'm not on Facebook. According to most people I talk to, at least, this is truly strange behavior.

So it's not surprising that so many people rely on social media, for both work and play, every day--a statistic highlighted in the latest Retrevo Gadgetology Report on social-media usage. What people are willing to interrupt for the sake of virtual connectivity, however, may give a few texting thumbs pause.

CNET Networks

Among social-media users, almost half say they check Facebook and/or Twitter from bed at night and/or as soon as they wake up in the morning, with 16 percent of users saying these sites are, in fact, how they get their news for the day.

More than half of social-media users report needing to check Facebook at least once every day, and more than 10 percent say they have to log on every few hours. Of course, iPhone users are even more attached at the hip, with more frequent usage than any other group in the 1,000-person study.

Again, I'm not surprised that 40 percent of respondents don't mind being interrupted for a message. I'll fully admit to being one of those people. But it depends on the time and the place. One in three respondents will take a message during a meal, and one in 14 during sex (this number jumps to one in 10 for those under 25). This may say as much about the quality of food and foreplay as it does the person interrupting them.

These numbers are backed by others. Intel did a study on the Internet and sex a few years ago, and Retrevo found a few months ago that Twitter may be the new poist-coital cigarette. Lesser of two evils, I suppose.

The authors of the Retrevo Gadgetology Report write that they're not qualified to declare a social media crisis, but they do go so far as to question whether a growing number of social-media users are suffering from some sort of addiction to connectivity.

I'm only 30, but it's already easy to long for the good ol' days, back when we'd twirl telephone chords with our fingers during gab sessions on the phone--a phone we weren't allowed to pick up during dinner, that most sacred of connectivity sessions.

And I don't care what the kids say today--if Facebook is more interesting than sex, you just might be with the wrong person.