Tweeting In Bed: We Know You Do It

Social networking between the sheets? A poll says it's for real.

By Scott Budman
|  Friday, Mar 19, 2010  |  Updated 12:02 PM PDT
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She just tweeted. Really.

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A certain thirtysomething of my acquaintance -- we'll call her "Janet" -- uses her bed as a home office.  No, it's not what you think.

But she does social-network between the sheets. Nightly.  Checking the Twitter stream, updating her Facebook page, and keeping up with her friends and contacts.

Most of them have no idea that Janet is in bed as this happens, but Retrevo knows. 

Retrevo, a Silicon Valley data collector, just released a survey titled "Is Social Media the New Addiction?" It's been tracking people like Janet, and coming up with some surprising results. 

For example, 11 percent of respondents admit they can be interrupted by an electronic message during sex.  That would be amazing, until you realize that nearly half of us admit that we check Facebook or Twitter after we get in bed.

And while the average Facebook user may be older than you think, young people are especially hooked:  61 percent of users under 25 say they "have to" check at least once a day.  Half of the same group also admits they can be interrupted by email during a meal.

As for those over 25?  Still addicted. More than half -- 55 percent -- say they have to check Facebook at least once a day. One in nine say they can't go even a couple of hours without checking in.  Retrevo, perhaps understating its results, calls it "some sort of addiction to social media." 

Andrew Eisner, Retrevo's director of content, put it best.  When it comes to social networking, we've become "shall we say, obsessed," he said.

This "obsession" should be a warning to traditional media.  If you're checking Twitter or Facebook first thing in the morning, do you really need the morning newscast or newspaper?  If you've been tracking information several times a day, are you still likely to sit back and calmly watch the news at 6 p.m.?

And if you're willing to interrupt a meal (not to mention a sexual encounter) for a tweet, what chance does an advertiser have of keeping your attention?

For Janet, social networking is how she gets information, daily and nightly.  The only problem?  Sometimes she falls asleep, drops her phone in bed, and can't find it the morning after.

You can follow Scott's news updates on Twitter as often as you want: @scottbudman

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