I’ve always suspected it. My kids seem to be permanently attached to Facebook and other social media services. Now, new research proves I’m right. And it’s not just my family – it’s the whole country.
According to a just released poll by the well regarded market intelligence firm Comscore, during April the average Israeli spent nearly 11 hours performing online social networking actions. That’s the highest in the world.
I’m not sure how to compare these poll results on Israeli behavior with the rest of the world – it seems to me that our friends in North America are just as busy updating their status and chatting as we are. But then I haven’t spent as much time watching a teenager in Los Angeles glued to his iPod Touch as I have my own kids. Indeed, the incessant ping and beep of a message arriving has become the new background music to our once analog life.
Dvir Reznik suggests that Israel’s high ranking in the Comscore poll may be because our cell phone data plans are more generous that those overseas.
Reznik is the VP of Marketing at Israeli startup Onavo, a company which compresses data to make mobile use more economical (I blogged about them earlier when they raised a $3 million round of financing). Reznik explained that, while most Americans seem content with (or are at least forced to settle for) only a few hundred MB of data flow a month, Israelis can easily jump into the 2-5 GB range for roughly the same price.
And where is much of the social media consumption occurring? On our increasingly ubiquitous smartphones, of course.
The Comscore poll also found that Israel has the second highest relative number of social network consumers, with 90% of Internet users having their own social media profile. Canada came in with 85% while, in the U.S. and Western Europe, it was a paltry 60-70%. (The Philippines was in the top spot with 93%).
All this is fun to write about, but it’s not necessarily a good thing for the social future of humankind. An influential new book called “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other” by Sherry Turkle has been widely quoted since its publication earlier this year.
In the book, Turkle cites some very disturbing research about how social media is adversely impacting our in-person relationships. It’s not just parents who are annoyed at their children texting at the table; kids are craving the attention of their distracted parents too. It affects the bond that forms between mother and baby during nursing, with the Imma too busy checking messages to spend time with her infant. And teenagers told Turkle that in many cases they actually prefer to chat online than to speak to a friend in person.
But for Israelis, that’s not the important take away. We’re number one, gush the newspaper reports, to a chorus of knowing “pokes.” In a world where our little country is being increasingly delegitimized, any claim to fame is welcome. And, in case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve already posted a link to this article to Facebook and Twitter.