Social Media
May 28, 2011

Social Media More Important to Youth Than Sense of Smell

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Kids these days.

Would you pick the being able to Facebook and Twitter over the ability to detect the scent of a gas leak, smoldering candle or other potentially dangerous smell? Then you’re old, according to a new study titled Truth on Youth. 7,000 whippersnappers were surveyed for the study, across seven countries- the UK, USA, Spain, China, India, Brazil and Mexico. Participants were between 16 and 30 years of age, and the researchers aimed to discover what sets this particular generator apart from their elders.

A news release describing the study detailed how the first “global generation” is motivated by three factors:

Commune (the need for connection, relationships, and community), Justice (the need for social or personal justice, to do what’s right, to be an activist), and Authenticity (the need to see things as they are). These motivations drive behaviors that transcend borders.

53% of the young people surveyed said that they would give up the ability to smell things before giving up the capability to remain connected. Indeed, the study dubbed technology a “fifth sense,” and Global IQ Director for McCann Worldgroup Laura Simpson commented:

“What we saw is that technology is the great global unifier. It is the glue that binds this generation together and fuels the motivations that define them… Young people utilize technology as a kind of supersense which connects them to infinite knowledge, friends and entertainment opportunities.”

Perhaps even more to the point, those surveyed overwhelmingly identified the most important traits a friend could have as “truthful,” at 42%, and “genuine,” at 22%.

Would you give up any of your naturally imbued senses for social media? Do you find it integral to stay connected to the people in your life to that degree?

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