Is Social Media Overtaking Your Life?


Internet ConnectionsTHUNDER BAY – Are you “addicted” to your smart phone? Your computer? Is life without your Facebook one you can not or would not accept?

Canadians might be kissing that good-night kiss good-bye as 75 per cent of social media users confess that the last thing they do at night or the first thing they do before getting out of bed in the morning is check emails, text messages and social networking sites, according to the BACARDI® Together Poll released today. If you live in Toronto or Montreal, you might want to have your smartphone beside you on your pillow since you are the least likely to get kissed as 80 per cent of those online in these two cities cite the same behaviour.

According to the BACARDI Together poll of 1,524 adults surveyed by Angus Reid Public Opinion, despite our love for smartphones, Canadians are clearly craving the joys of face-to-face connections as 69 per cent admit that one can only have meaningful relationships in-person. When asked how they prefer to interact with others, over 8 in 10 people strongly prefer face-to-face communication with family (83 per cent) and nearly as many with close friends (79 per cent).

“Human beings are meant to be together – to socialize, to share, to connect,” said Ellen Karp, social anthropologist, author, and expert in LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). “‘Social media togetherness’ is clearly not the same as ‘in-person togetherness.’ While social media is quick and efficient, there is no replacement for one-on-one time with close friends and family.”

While only a quarter of Canadians (27 per cent) cite spending too much time online as a reason for not making time for the all-important face-to-face gatherings, the other challenges we face are managing the time we spend at work (64 per cent) and raising our families (46 per cent).

Social Media’s Affect on Social Habits
Social media may be helping 78 per cent of Canadians using those channels keep up-to-date on what is happening with their friends and acquaintances, but we are not interacting with them personally or individually. It’s no surprise then that 69 per cent of Canadians think we are becoming more superficial and 75 per cent agree that we are losing our social skills because of social media when:

  • Almost half of Canadians (44 per cent) believe it is okay to take or make calls while in the toilet;
  • 51per cent of Canadian women between 19-44 years of age who use social media cannot imagine their lives without it (vs. 37 per cent for all social media users);
  • Nearly a quarter of all Canadian social media users (23 per cent) spend between 10-20 hours on social networks each week followed by 7 per cent who spend over 20 hours a week; and
  • One in five Canadians online (21 per cent) believes that they are at risk of social media burn-out.

Overall, it appears that Quebecois have the best social etiquette – with less than 1 in 10 (9 per cent) citing that they are never without their cell or smart phones vs. almost 1 in 4 (23 per cent) of those living in Atlantic Canada.

“We clearly need to make more time to make our ‘status updates’ in-person,” suggests David Freeman, Brand Director at Bacardi Canada. “Being a family-run business for the past 148 years, Bacardi has always focused on the importance of spending time with friends and family. Whether throwing street festivals in Cuba back in 1862 or hosting intimate gatherings around the world, the end result has always been about making real human connections while creating memories with friends.”

Come Together: Home for the Holidays
As we head into the holiday season, 95 per cent of Canadians are likely to trek wherever to get together with family. If you want to make the most of your family time, you might want to move to Edmonton, as 80 per cent feel very connected at this time of year, versus only 67 per cent and 69 per cent of those living in Montreal or Vancouver respectively. Perhaps that’s why Montrealers are the loneliest since more than 1 in 5 social media users in that city cite feeling lonelier in the wake of social media.


City Highlights

  • 40 per cent of social media users in Vancouver can’t imagine their life without social media vs. 23 per cent in Edmonton
  • In the wake of social media, Montrealers using social media feel the loneliest amongst Canadians (22 per cent) vs. only 6 per cent of Ottawa residents (national average is 13 per cent)
  • If you live in Calgary, you probably have the least amount of Facebook friends (an average of 131) vs. Halifax residents who have the most (an average of 189 friends)

Men vs. Women

  • Men are more likely to take or place phone calls in the bathroom as 52 per cent think it’s acceptable to do so versus only 37 per cent of women
  • Women are heavier users of social media with 64 per cent of female internet users saying they use social networks as communications channel with friends versus 46 per cent of men online

Why We Use Social Media

  • 84 per cent of social media users use these channels to feel more connected with other people
  • 70 per cent of users want to feel in the know about what’s going on
  • 66 per cent of social media users use sites to coordinate get-togethers with friends
  • 62 per cent use it to share good times

Why We Don’t Use Social Media

  • 63 per cent of online Canadians who don’t use social media cite that ‘there is no replacement for face-to-face meetings,’ as a reason for not using the new media channel
  • Nearly half of online Canadians who don’t use social media (49 per cent) consider ‘social media is a waste of time,’ to be amongst the top reasons for not using it.
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