The Weekly Round-Up: Facebook makes us frown, SMS lives on and techies get sexy

Facebook keeps us in 'neurotic limbo', texting comes out on top and IT departments dominate office romance...
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

Facebook keeps us in 'neurotic limbo', texting comes out on top and IT departments dominate office romance...

For all the appeal of millions of shared photos and videos, for all the elegance of 140-character missives, for all the satisfaction of being able to find out how much weight your friends and exes have put on since leaving university, social media comes up short against one of the oldest old school communications technologies - texting.

Yes, this week a survey revealed that despite our ongoing love affair with all things social-web-related, the humble SMS remains chief in our mobile phone affections.

And what’s more, this ageing technology has won out over trendier and sexier technology in the shiny smartphone arena.

Research by business consultancy Deloitte has found that more than half of smartphone users send a text every few hours, and nearly nine out of 10 send an SMS at least every day – outgunning the use of social media.

Yes, despite the proliferation of social networking clients in the mobile application stores of leading vendors, the text is here to stay.

Most long-time mobile users cut their digital-communications teeth on SMS via 2kg plastic bricks, before heading on to loftier heights with social media on sleek touchscreen flights of mobile whimsy.

Indeed, this role as a gateway to data communication seems set to continue. The report said: "For most users, of all levels of sophistication, the SMS will have been, or will be, the first type of data service used."

So it's not so much the old order changeth, yielding place to new as much as "I'm not dead yet LOL!"

To be sure, the joy of text yet endures.

Facebook: The antisocial network

Another reason to switch off your Facebook account emerged this week - as if all those updates, reminding you how people you went to school with are so much more successful than you, weren't enough.

A report has found that regular use of the social network giant to stay in touch with loved ones can actually cause anxiety and stress, just like friendships in the real world do.

According to the research conducted by Edinburgh Napier University, many of the students it surveyed found that the “negative effects of Facebook outweigh the benefits of staying in touch with friends and family".

If only you could use the same argument for not visiting relatives at Christmas.

The more you put into the site and the more so-called friends you have, the more likely you are to be stressed. And you thought being the popular kid in school was easy – it’s a constant barrage of stress and anguish.

Rejecting friend requests caused 32 per cent of respondents to feel guilty and 12 per cent said Facebook in general made them feel anxious.

Dr Kathy Charles, who led the study, also said people are afraid to leave Facebook in case they forgo important social information.

"Like gambling, Facebook keeps users in a neurotic limbo, not knowing whether they should hang on in there just in case they miss out on something good," she said.

"The other responses we got in focus groups and one-to-one interviews suggest the survey figures actually under-represent aspects of stress and anxiety felt by some Facebook users, whether it's through feelings of exclusion, pressure to be entertaining, paranoia or envy of others' lifestyles."

Neurotic limbo? Anxiety from rejecting friend requests? The Round-Up suspects the human race has largely lost its ability to survive in the wild...

IT workers steam up the server room

If you ever saw the original trailer for the first series of The IT Crowd you’ll recall that it featured lots of beautiful people with high cheekbones and taut bottom cheeks frolicking lasciviously in an office environment.

Meanwhile, the camera cut to a couple of plain-looking techies staring on in envy.

The image of the plain, dull, loveless techie is one that has endured for years and the Round-Up is ashamed to admit it has sometimes propagated that image, if only in self-referential jest.

Yet the myth of the techie living with his parents and maintaining a candlelit shrine to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in his bedroom is precisely that – a myth.

An important and earth-shattering survey from office provider Business Environment has blown apart the stereotype of the modern IT worker and painted a picture of a well-oiled love machine.

According to the survey, 55 per cent of IT workers revealed they’d had a relationship or fling with someone they worked with.

That 55 per cent is an incredible, magnificent and triumphant single percentage point more than the marketing, advertising and PR crowd managed. Them with their foreign travel, sharp suits, Apple laptops and Champagne breakfasts.

Overall, 37 per cent of the 3,000 respondents said they’d had a relationship at work. Bearing the old and discarded mantle of least loved-up members of the business are graduate trainees and scientists.

A huge 81 per cent of graduate trainees and 74 per cent of scientists revealed they’d never had a romantic encounter at work.

Pfft! Losers.

So there you are: proof that if you fancy an office romance, you can probably find passion on the server room floor, losing yourself in a tangle of limbs and cables and lit by flashing red LED lights.

Then again, this news means one of two things. It could mean that techies are indeed the new magnet for office romance.

Alternatively, it may mean the bespectacled, buck-toothed loner in the Deep Space Nine T-shirt in charge of the database has been a little economical with the actuality when completing the survey...

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