Don't Touch My Facebook!

By Chris Talbot  |  Print this article Print

Internet access is as important as the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink, according to a new survey of college students and young adults commissioned by Cisco. Here's what else they said.

Social media, unsurprisingly, has become a critical element of young adults’ lives. Cisco’s study found that 91 percent of college students and 88 percent of young employees have Facebook accounts. Of those, 89 percent of college students and 73 percent of young employees check Facebook at least once per day – and 33 percent of both groups check Facebook at least five times per day.

The use of Facebook and Twitter with professional colleagues is also huge with these two groups. Seven out of 10 employees friended their managers and/or co-workers on Facebook, while 68 percent of the Twitter users surveyed said they follow their managers or colleagues. Only 32 percent prefer to keep their personal and professional lives separate.

Seeing as this generation also grew up with cell phones, it’s also likely not a surprise that many are highly connected via their mobile devices. Of the students and employees surveyed, 66 percent and 58 percent (respectively) said a mobile device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) was the most important technology in their lives.

Smartphones are actually about to surpass desktops as the most prevalent technological tool globally, with 19 percent of college students citing a smartphone as the most important device they use on a daily basis (compared to 20 percent that cited desktops).

The digital world is something the next generation is focused on, and it’s taking its toll on certain industries. Newspapers and hardcopy books certainly are less important than generations past. Television is likewise taking a beating with this new generation. Only 4 percent of those surveyed said the newspaper is the most important tool for accessing information, 21 percent haven’t bought a physical book (excluding textbooks for class) in a bookstore in more than two years (or never at all), and only 6 percent of students and 8 percent of employees said the TV is the most important technology device in their daily lives (a downward trend that Cisco expects to continue as more TV and movie content becomes available on mobile devices).

"The results of the Cisco Connected World Technology Report should make businesses re-examine how they need to evolve in order to attract talent and shape their business models," said Marie Hattar, vice president of enterprise marketing at Cisco, in a statement. "Without a doubt, our world is changing to be much more Internet-focused, and becomes even more so with each new generation. CIOs need to plan and scale their networks now to address the security and mobility demands that the next generation workforce will put on their infrastructure, and they need to do this in conjunction with a proper assessment of corporate policies."