Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How much time do you spend on Facebook? (Really.)

"I need to break up with Facebook." I've heard this so many times over the past few weeks that I'm thinking poor old FB should by lying in a bath, drinking wine, listening to soppy power ballads and resisting the urge to call its many exes by now. And yet...

When I go into Facebook, the newsfeed seems as full of babies and weddings and motivational quotes and inspirational what-nots and political statements as it ever was. More so, maybe. If everybody's moving on, dropping out, and deleting their accounts, there's little sign of it in cyberspace.

There are things I don't like about the book. Friends of mine click 'like' on things that make me cringe (and see them in a new light). People who just a few years ago were complaining about how much new mums talk about their babies have now had babies and, you guessed it, their newsfeeds are full of nothing else. Some people feel that it's their duty to use Facebook to change your opinion to gel with their opinion. And, it has to be said, somewhere along the line people got confused and began to think that simply 'liking' a picture was the same as doing something about an issue.

But most of this can be glossed over as the newsfeed rolls on.

What I love about Facebook? It lets me keep in touch casually with people I don't see much anymore. Nobody has to make too much effort, and yet I still feel part of their lives. As well, it's a great place to really chat to the Fibro community, in real time, and with many laughs.

There are 1000 reasons for breaking up with Facebook. Most of them have to do with privacy. But, just like that bad boy you went out with in your late teens, somehow you just can't bring yourself to do it.

I do think it's time to come clean though. When I'm asked how much time I spend on Facebook, I usually say 'oh, I pop in and out during the day... to check on my page, you know'. Today I thought I'd check the real stats on that statement. The sums look something like this:

I 'popped in' five times. During each of those times, I checked both my author page and my personal profile, for a total of at least six minutes.

5 pops x 6 minutes = 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes of my life spent faffing around on Facebook. That's 3.5 hours a week.

And that doesn't count Twitter, blogging, and all the rest.

Could it be that I'm spending too much time in cyberspace? I decided I needed some stats for comparison. Please help.

How much time do you spend on Facebook - really?


  1. Too much, plain and simple. No stats required. It is addictive. I've given up wine for Feb Fast but not Facebook. What does THAT say?!

  2. I reckon I am the same as you ... About half an hour a day popping in and out. Which means I spend MORE than half an hour a day on twitter because I am there FAR more than on FB!

    {hangs head in shame}

  3. In the early days, I used to be on all the time but I'm on very seldom and sporadically now. I chose to cut back because I actually did calculate how much time I spent on FB, blogging and twitter at the end of 2011 and I freaked myself out. It amounted to about 30 hours a week, almost as much as a full-time job.....with no pay! Having said that, I was still in my early honeymoon phase with blogging so felt I had to do all that to build a community and engage. Still my gut told me I had to make a choice so I cut back and put my priority squarely on my family. No regrets (though the occasional pang at my much lower SM engagement as a result). I'm also now working 4 days a week so there's no spare moments to faff about. How much time do I spend now? Probably a few hours a week all up on mostly my blog, then maybe FB (barely twitter). But my new time sapper is Instagram but I'm not about to give that up. It's opened up the world of photography for me and am inspired in a way the other SM platforms haven't. I can't cut that off. Hope this helps with your dilemma. Sorry for the waffle though!

  4. 1-2 hours a day usually. 5 x 6 minutes is nothing. I rack that up by lunch time! But I'd love a no facebook month - just to sees what happens. (I'm just worried I wont be invited anywhere!).

  5. You're in the clear Al. I spend heaps more time on that with all my pops. I administer a work account and that enables the pop-ins to my personal account at work. Shhhhhh!

    That said,I really did break up with Farcebook for a couple of years. So I know I can. But we are currently back together...

  6. Me? Zero.
    A score I am quite proud of.

  7. Too much. Only two days ago I wrote on a list somewhere (you know to make it quite official) that I needed to limit my time on Facebook: check only every other day and spend 5mins only. The 'every other day thing' isn't working just yet but I AM spending far less time. I think it was because I asked myself if my life was any richer or did I feel more fulfilled after having spent the time there. Yes of course I often uncover something lovely, and it's good to feel connected with other people, readers etc. But I'm not sure I need to do it as often as I do. I don't have plans to quit Facebook but I'm more mindful not to get swept away and waste half an hour. It's probably used too much as a distraction and means of entertainment, whereas I feel I should be getting distracted and entertained some other way, and just use it better for connecting and learning.

  8. Like you , Allison, I'm a freelancer (editor & writer) and I work from home. For me, Facebook is like the tearoom in an office. When I worked in-house in publishing offices, it was part of the culture to get up and go and make a cup of coffee every so often, chat to colleagues while the kettle boiled, make connections, talk about a project that you were working on, ask a question if you needed some help and so on. This time was seen as valuable, because it contributed to the collegiate culture of publishing. Back then, I would have about 4-5 cups of tea/coffee a day, and they probably took about 5 mins each. Now that I'm at home, it's Facebook that gives me this community. Lots of my editorial colleagues are there, and I feel part of a bigger 'work' community. Sure, I have days when I am there more than other days. And some days I don't turn my computer on at all. But it functions as a space where I connect to my colleagues and friends - and that keeps me from being isolated.

    1. This is much how I feel about it Carolyn. Now that the boys have gone back to school (and I never thought I'd say this), I'm finding I really miss them. It's a lonely old life, this freelancing business. Social media allows that sense of not being on your own all the time. But I was always easily distracted in an office situation - and that hasn't changed. I'm working on trying not to 'pop' as often. :-)

  9. About the same amount of time as you Al about 30 minutes here and there through the day and I love it, I really do. It suits my postcard perspective. I have so many overseas friends that I hardly see and it has enabled me to keep me in the loop and the chit-chat going (even with friends who live nearby, who I rarely see due to my unusual working hours). When someone tells me they 'don't do facebook', I actually feel a bit sorry for them and remember this woman I once knew who very was proud of the fact that she didn't have a telephone...

    Having said that I am yet to get enthusiastic about Twitter as I suspect I might really fall into the cyber's space if I had a personal account there. Dabbled on Pinterest and Instagram the other day and though uh-oh! I could spend all day every day here!

  10. Thanks everyone for your great, thoughtful comments. They all make very interesting reading.

  11. I love Facebook and all the positives it can bring to a community, business, etc. BUT....I sometimes have a desire to 'quit' it....as it can be VERY time consuming! And now with smart phones and ipads etc...we can check FB whenever, wherever!!!! I've really cut back on my FB time. I use it mainly to run my business page from, and will scroll through my News Feed about 2 times a day at about 10 mins each time.
    It's a love/hate relationship, isn't it :)

  12. I quit facebook a year ago and haven't missed it at all. I didn't find it provided a meaningful connection with friends (I had already deleted acquaintances for privacy reasons), and decided to channel my energy into keeping in touch in other ways (writing letters, even!) That said, I am just as capable of faffing around in blogland wasting time...but at least the content here usually has greater depth to it than a facebook newsfeed.

  13. I only joined FB last year and was very reluctant, same goes for blogging actually and here I am in love with both. To avoid spending too much of my life on it though and procrastinating getting my paid work done, two weeks ago I set myself a new rule - switch off sunday. A whole day of no technology is a very good thing. Now that I know I have to get all my writing done in six days rather than seven I am more focused.

  14. I check in twice a day during the week, and not at all on the weekend (unless I write a blog post). But I'm sure I spend more time on each visit than you do, just clicking around to everything!

  15. Hi Allison, did you receive my email?x

  16. Then? About an hour a day. Now? 5 minutes. I'm loving being present in real life again xxx

  17. Not much Al. I use it as little as possible.

  18. At the moment I think I would be too scared to work it out.
    Being at home with my 5 week old leaves me a lot of time to hang out on Facebook, Twitter and writing on the blog (mostly about my 5 week old) - that is when he is not wanting attention for bottles or cuddles.

  19. I think I spend way too much time and worry too much about it... personal page and blog page... that is the problem... a pop on facebook turns into something else entirely xx


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