Twitter is Impossible to Resist: Study Indicates Social Media Urges Stronger than Sex

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social-media-urges-studyA new study just released by the Chicago University’s Booth Business School suggests that people find it more difficult to resist the urge to use Twitter or Facebook than to resist sex, sleep, cigarettes or alcohol. The study, which examined 205 German men and women between the ages of 18 and 85, concluded that social media has become nearly impossible to resist.

Each of the study participants were issued a BlackBerry and contacted seven times per day for a period of seven consecutive days. Each time the test subjects were messaged by the study, the participants would respond with information related to their desires. The response would indicate the type (i.e. social media, sleep, sex, alcohol, or cigarettes) of desire and provide insight regarding the strength of the desire.

When the researchers analyzed the 10,558 BlackBerry interactions and the reported 7,827 “desire episodes,” they found the willpower to resist social media was lowered as the day progressed. However, the ability to resist urges that could negatively impact the individual, such as sexual impulses, tobacco, alcohol, or coffee, were relatively well controlled.

Wilhelm Hofmann of Chicago University’s Booth Business School said the following of his study’s findings:

“People were relatively successful at resisting sports inclinations, sexual urges, and spending impulses, which seems surprising given the salience in modern culture of disastrous failures to control sexual impulses and urges to spend money.”

Hoffman went on to indicate that he feels people are strongly attracted to social media due to the perceived low risk and cost of the activity and indicated that may be the reason the majority of “self-control failures” were related to Twitter and Facebook:

“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.”

The Psychological Science Journal plans to publish the study in the near future.

[Sources Include: Forbes, Guardian, & Fox News]

David Angotti

David Angotti

After successfully founding and exiting an educational startup in 2009, I began helping companies with business development, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO),... Read Full Bio
David Angotti
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  • Matt Brennan

    I too feel the pull of social media. Not as much as this study suggests though…

  • Sales Chat Sean

    Hi David,

    Nice post…. where did you get all the stats from. Please share the link for us.

    Nevertheless, whatever the source of the stats may be, I find myself in 100% agreement. We are intentionally and willfully trapped to this social media thing. We spend thousands of dollars to get the devices which are most powerful and easy to carry with us even when we are on the toilet seats with the sole purpose which is to get connected with the rest of the world through social media.

    I shall wait to receive the links to the stats.

    • David Angotti

      Hello Sean,
      As stated in the article, the study was conducted by Chicago University’s Booth Business School and will be released in the Psychological Science Journal in the near future. Additional sources of information included Forbes, Guardian, & Fox News (links to sources above). Hope this information is helpful.

  • Sergei Baranov, internet marketing consultant

    In fact, this research is about ‘online addiction’, or an uncontrollable and psychologically damaging use of Internet. The research just confirms existing fact. There exist already years clinics for Internet addicted youths and adults around the world. Twitter is obviously very strong to resist media. But, even light form of Internet addiction such as frequently checking e-mail box can ruin productivity en concentration.

  • Greg Holbert

    So, is it bad if most of my work is done on social media? If so, then I’ve found a way to make my habit actually grant me income! Who knew being an addict could actually be beneficial!?

  • Reggie Dark

    And that’s why so many are cashing in on the social media. I too love twitter and Facebook