Sure, Americans may cumulatively spend 53 billion minutes per month on Facebook, but at least users in the U.S. understand that social media is less important than the ability to, for example, flush away human waste…unlike Facebook addicts in the United Kingdom.
A study, carried out by the London Science Museum, has discovered that more Britons would prefer to live without a flushing toilet than abandon Facebook. Also on the list of things that people in the United Kingdom are more willing to give up than Facebook: fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and the chance to shower.
The results of the study—described by the museum’s exhibition manager, Sarah Richardson, as “crazy”—revealed a strange obsession with technology at the expense of the 3,000 respondents’ well-being: An Internet connection was judged to be the second most vital thing in their lives (after sunshine), ahead of clean drinking water—surely not the intended result, as the study was carried out to promote the museum’s “Water Wars: Fight The Food Crisis” exhibit promoting the importance of clean drinking water.
“Brits are obsessed by the weather, so it’s not surprising sunshine was rated as the top thing we couldn’t live without. But to say you can’t live without material things over drinking water is crazy,” said Richardson. “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.”
While the survey may have made Facebook feel good about its market penetration in the United Kingdom, Twitter didn’t fare as well; it was the first thing those asked were willing to give up. Perhaps the popular micro-blogging service should start advertising itself as the social media choice for people with their priorities straight.
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.