Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

Summary: A new survey in the UK has found that Facebook ranked fifth on a list of things people say they can't live without.

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The London Science Museum recently surveyed 3,000 adults asking them what things they couldn't live without. There were a total of 50 items mentioned (full list below); here are the top ten, in order: sunshine, Internet connection, clean drinking water, fridge, Facebook, National Health Service (NHS), cooker, e-mail, flushing toilet, and mobile phone.

Yes, you read that correctly. Facebook ranked fifth! Residents of the UK consider only four things more important than Facebook. Two of them are actual human needs (sunshine and clean drinking water) and one is very closely related to a human need (fridge). The other one (Internet) is arguably becoming a human right and of course you need it to access Facebook.

The fact that Facebook was listed higher than e-mail does not surprise me, but things like NHS, flushing toilet, washing machine, shower, central heating, and air conditioning do. Facebook was also listed higher than products and services like Google, Ebay, iPod, Nintendo Wii, iPad, Xbox, and Twitter.

"Brits are obsessed by the weather, so it's not surprising sunshine was rated as the top thing we couldn't live without," Sarah Richardson, Science Museum Exhibition Manager, told Daily Mail. "But to say you can't live without material things over drinking water is crazy. It seems having fresh drinking water is something that many of us take for granted but is becoming scarcer in many parts of the world. If you see how little water others have to drink or grow food you soon realize water is fast becoming a luxury for millions."

The survey was carried out in conjunction with the Science Museum's new exhibition, Water Wars: Fight The Food Crisis, which explores the problem of having enough fresh water to grow crops. It was meant to underline how Westerners take many aspects of their lives for granted. Survey respondents rated the Internet higher than fresh water.

Here's the full list:

  1. Sunshine
  2. Internet connection
  3. Clean drinking water
  4. Fridge
  5. Facebook
  6. NHS
  7. Cooker
  8. E-mail
  9. Flushing toilet
  10. Mobile phone / smartphone
  11. Tea and Coffee
  12. Washing machine
  13. Shower
  14. Central heating
  15. Painkillers
  16. Fresh vegetables
  17. Vacuum Cleaner
  18. Kettle
  19. Sofa
  20. Shoes
  21. Fresh fruit
  22. Google
  23. Car
  24. Hair straighteners
  25. Public transport
  26. Laptop
  27. Chocolate
  28. DVD Player
  29. Wristwatch
  30. Make-up
  31. Flat screen TV
  32. Wedding ring
  33. Tumble dryer
  34. Bottled water
  35. Ebay
  36. Bicycle
  37. Ipod
  38. Air conditioning
  39. Disposable nappies
  40. Light bulbs
  41. Spell-check
  42. Sat Nav
  43. Push-up bra
  44. Nintendo Wii
  45. iPad
  46. Gym Membership
  47. Season ticket to your football club
  48. Freezer
  49. Xbox
  50. Twitter

Topics: Mobility, Browser, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

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13 comments
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  • RE: Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

    My guess is most of the respondents would change their minds if a few of the less necessary items were take away. Or maybe I'm just nostalgic for a more sensible time.
    Bill4
    • Indeed

      @Bill4

      Ask our friends in Southern California if Facebook ranks higher than air conditioning. I'm guessing it would not right now.
      oncall
  • RE: Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

    Those 3000 dolts have one thing common - lack of basic education.
    xTalk
    • RE: Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

      @xTalk
      Who needs an education when you have a push-up bra?
      bluebeard66
  • RE: Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

    So says pointless Daily Mail style survey.

    Meanwhile in the real world of things that matter..........
    Alan Smithie
  • RE: Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

    all of a sudden it done got real burrrrr out here peeps askn if I wanna go out hmmm?naw not 2nite ima kick back n watch movies by mys ?
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  • liajames

    This is one of the good articles you can find in the net explaining everything in detail regarding the topic. I thank you for taking your time sharing your thoughts and ideas to a lot of readers out there.
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  • RE: Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

    I am glad to read this post, it?s an interesting one.
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  • That's all people need?

    Looks like a country easy to govern. In case you need a Prime Minister, please let me know.
    RelaxWalk
  • RE: Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

    Oh come one. Seeing how a lot of surveys are conducted, I highly doubt that people were really putting Facebook above the essentials - they just got lost in incoherent questioning. Maybe. I'd have to see how it was actually conducted to be sure.
    MikeR666
  • Have to wonder how the survey was done

    I really have to wonder how the survey was done, for water to be below Internet. I'm not about to take this particular survey very seriously.
    CobraA1
  • RE: Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

    Very sad to see Push-up bras are only #43.

    What a stupid survey.
    Imrhien
  • RE: Brits: Facebook is more vital than a mobile phone, shower, toilet

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