Facebook updates more important than friends?

Young people are tech-savvy. That's a trend that's widely understood among marketers.

Young people are tech-savvy. That's a trend that's widely understood among marketers. But, exactly how dependent are they on devices such as the internet and mobile phones? According to a survey released this week by Cisco, they are very dependent - more so than logic may permit.

The study found one-third of college students and young professionals view the internet as a "fundamental resource for the human race" - up there alongside air, water, food and shelter. Nearly half of respondents believe the technology is "pretty close" in significance.

Sixty-six percent of students and 58 percent of workers cited their mobile devices as the most important technology in their lives, and 27 percent of students said Facebook updates were more important than partying, dating, listening to music or hanging out with friends.

"The lifestyles of 'prosumers' - the blending of professionals and consumers in the workplace - their technology expectations, and their behavior toward information access is changing the nature of communications on a global basis," said Dave Evans, chief futurist at Cisco.

To marketers, this indicates a shift toward the digitization of media and commerce. But to average consumers, it may be a bit frightening.