A recent McCann study of over 7,000 sixteen- to thirty-year olds — congrats, people in your late twenties: you're still in the same group as high schoolers! — has found that over half of the respondents would rather lose their sense of smell than their technology. Right off the bat, I have a few very important questions: are we talking all technology here? Like electricity and antibiotics and microwave burritos? And would you have to watch the other kids play with their shiny toys, or does everyone lose it? Is this an Amish-country situation, or more like Cormac McCarthy's The Road? I personally think this information would make a big difference.
That being said: duh-huh-huh-huhhhhh. For all the cool things smell can do, like trigger memories or… let you know there are cookies baking somewhere around you, it tends to get lost in the shuffle. And when you're getting lost in a shuffle of five, it's going to be hard to beat Facebook on a list of "things people want." The report notes that what this really boils down to is the ability to connect:
It is clear from the results that technology plays an important role in youngsters' lives and without it they would feel isolated and uninformed.
"It is the glue that binds this generation together and fuels the motivations that define them." said Laura Simpson, Global IQ Director for McCann Worldgroup…
"Young people utilize technology as a kind of super-sense which connects them to infinite knowledge, friends and entertainment opportunities," said Simpson.
Actually — and this especially goes for those what-is-happening-to-my-body high schoolers — I bet knowing your peers had no sense of smell at all would make it much less worrisome connecting offline as well.