Wait ... really?

Young workers think the Internet is as important as air and would take a pay cut for Facebook access

Young workers think the Internet is as important as air and would take a pay cut for Facebook access

Can you make it through the day without water? What about food or — gasp— Facebook? Your answer may depend more on your age than anything else. A Cisco report peered into the future of the world’s young, tech-savvy workforce and yielded both surprising and unsurprising results.

The 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report surveyed nearly 3,000 participants in 14 countries from the Group of Twenty — an even mixture of undergraduates and young professionals under 30 — in an effort to examine "the relationship between human behavior, the Internet and networking's pervasiveness."

 More than half of those surveyed claimed they could not live without the Internet, citing it as an "integral part" of their lives. 

Turns out that today’s young professionals absolutely love the Internet and mobile technology. So much so, in fact, that one in three considered the Internet to be as important as air, water, food and shelter. More than half claimed they could not live without the Internet, citing it as an "integral part" of their lives.

In certain cases, participants said it was more essential than owning a car, dating and socializing with friends.

Two of five college-aged students would accept a lower-paying job if it had more flexibility with regard to social media access and mobility. As smartphones surpass desktop computers as the most prevalent work tool, Cisco noted that a new generation of college graduates "fans the debate over the necessity of offices." In last year's report, three of five employees said traditional offices were unnecessary for productivity.

Mobility carries its own issues, as the line between work and personal life erodes by way of constant communication, particularly in the realm of social media. The report notes that seven of 10 employees friended their managers and/or coworkers on Facebook, indicating the dissolution of boundaries separating work and private life.

As compared to other nations, the United States featured lower percentages of employee Facebook friendships with managers — about one in four. Two of five American employees friended their coworkers.

Of employees who use Twitter, two of every three follow the Twitter activity of either their manager or colleagues (42 percent follow both). One-third of the surveyed participants prefer to keep their personal lives private.

Unsurprising was the data charting the death of 20th-century media, although the rates of the decline in popularity might catch some off-guard. Fewer than one in 10 participants listed TV as the most important daily device. Only one in 25 listed the newspaper as an essential news source.

One in five college students hadn’t purchased a physical book (excluding required textbooks) from a bookstore in more than two years — or never at all.