08 February 2012

Social Media is MORE Addictive than Alcohol

The latest booze-news- study wasn't directly setting out to find out anything about booze. It just so happens that the results have offered an interesting comparison for the general public to speculate on.

The study was led by Wilhelm Hofmann and Chicagos University Booth Business School. They looked at 205 people between the ages of 18 and 85 in Germany who were asked seven times a day over a week to describe which desires they were experiencing and the strength of said desire.

Now, reassuringly, and slightly boringly, the study found that we are not all slaves to our dark and hedonistic selves fuelled by alcohol drugs and parties, as sleep and leisure topped the list of desires. Slightly more interestingly though next in line of "self control failure rates" was checking in with social media, email and work which came in way ahead of the first drink of the day.

Obviously checking in with social media is a little bit simpler and more sociably acceptable than having a shot on the train at 9am, so the comparison is not completely airtight. Dr Hofmann explains further in the quotes for the Guardian below.

"Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not 'cost much' to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist," Hofmann

"With cigarettes and alcohol there are more costs -- long-term as well as monetary -- and the opportunity may not always be the right one," Hofmann added. "So, even though giving in to media desires is certainly less consequential, the frequent use may still 'steal' a lot of people's time." Hofmann

If somehow we did get a buzz out of social media and it cost us the same as a pint we may see very different results. However it does lead to another point that I'm glad to bring up which is why we are seeing more and more bars using social media to their advantage.

How does the old saying go, "if you have a good experience you tell 6 people, if you have a bad experience you will tell 20" Factor that into modern culture. "If you have a good experience you post it on your Facebook page, tag six people, it gets shared by 6 more which then gets seen by their friends who share it once more and tweet it too their 100 followers, one of whom RT's to another 100 followers……….. and so on, you can see where I'm going with this.

If nothing else this is a brilliant incentive for establishments to create a social persona, something personal which customers can interact with. Whether it be venting frustrations, which can quickly be suppressed with the promise of a free drink or an invite to come back and try again. Even encouraging customers to message the bar directly with a quick review including any staff grievances they might have had.

By sharing photos and talking directly with customers you can create both an approachable and rich profile that can be viewed online. It gives people a chance to see what the personality of the bar is really like, before even entering. To encourage the word being spread it is a simple task to run offers and exclusive content through social networks keeping people engaged and encouraging them to share with friends without having to use the old fashioned method of words and sounds.

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