In the last few years, technology has improved so much that it aims to increase our quality of life, be it with smart appliances, self-driving cars with improved sensors for safety, audio speakers you can give commands to, and so much more. Technology is good. It is cool, fun, nerdy, and geeky. Along with all these technological improvements, social media has seen a boom as well and is being used more than ever for many different reasons.
When I visited Iceland last Christmas, my wife and I were browsing through different apps and websites related to the Northern Lights to learn the best ways to experience The lights. One of these led to a Facebook “Lights hunting” group. While scrolling through the posts I noticed that the time stamps for posts from different users was wrong with respect to the real time it was, then I figured out that although my phone was in correct Icelandic time zone, Facebook wasn’t. I started going through the different settings to fix the time zone and found a setting called “Your Time on Facebook”. I clicked it thinking I would be taken to the time zone settings, but instead was taken to this screen.
It shows the average time you spend on the Facebook app per week, from the particular device you are using. So if you have a tablet and a smartphone both with the Facebook app, each will have its own time graph. This particular screenshot is random, but if I recall correctly, my average minutes when I first saw this in Iceland were about 47 minutes a day. I’m not sure how Facebook counts this. Do they count only the time you are scrolling through the app? Do they count the time the app is open in the background, but you aren’t actually using the app? I don’t know. But regardless, when I saw 47 minutes a day, part of my soul briefly died!
47 min x 365 days = 17,155 minutes a year
17,155 minutes / 60 min per hour = 286 hours a year
286 hours / 24 hours a day = 12 days a year
If I have been using Facebook 47 min a day for the past year, I have spent 12 days of my life scrolling through silly cat memes. Imagine taking 12 days of vacation leave to scroll through Facebook, and those 12 days are non-stop; as if my body was strong enough to go without any rest, breaks or food for 12 days. Supposing I sleep 8 hours a day during my meme-viewing vacation, those 12 days of scrolling would actually be 16 days, broken up to 12 days Facebooking, and 4 days resting and sleeping, since I’m not a robot. This means hypothetically, I have wasted 16 days of my life with Facebook, and this takes me back to where my soul died!
It seems like I am trashing Facebook right now, but I’m not. It’s the use of Facebook and other social media, and how we waste our time with these apps. I’m not saying it’s a complete waste of time or completely useless. You can find many great events, share great memories, plan awesome parties, share this blog post… all using Facebook. Used correctly and with a purpose, Facebook is great. But there’s a line when it gets pointless.
You might argue that a movie lover wastes the same or even more time binge-watching on Netflix. But at least the movie lover can start conversations on different movies and topics or dress-up for a comic-con. When was the last time you were telling your friends about how you scrolled through 58 memes, saw 12 funny videos, got bombarded with ads and spam from 20 different companies, or bragged about your ultra-liking skills by clicking the Like button 34 times, the sad face Like button 5 times, and browsing through 6 different profiles?
Another app I stopped using about 3 years ago was Snapchat. It got too silly and child-like with the dog ear’s and tongue selfie add-ons. I don’t know if this app tracks the time you spend on it, but just imagine all the time spent on social media. Again, technology and social media is good, but it shouldn’t dominate your life like this (Terminator anyone?). I can better use those 16 days for something much more relevant. If you have been putting stuff aside for lack of time, or you don’t dedicate enough time to someone, then make time. I just showed you an easy way to get extra days of free time. Make a list of everything you have been wanting to do.
Paint the room? Read a book? Exercise? Explore a city?
Go do it. When you finish you will see the “useless” part of Facebook very fast, and it will become even easier to detach yourself from it. Your soul will thank you for it!