Sunday, November 16, 2014

Facebooking My Life Away

I'm Facebooking my life away—literally.

The other night I read an article about how much time people spend on Facebook. Most of the time, people may underestimate how much time they stay on the popular social media site. A link in the article led me to an app that would calculate how much time I'd spent on Facebook. I knew I'd languished in the pages and profiles of FB for hours. I also knew I was on Facebook most every single day. Still, I decided to check out the app and get an idea of just how much lollygagging I'd spent on Zuckerberg's addictive social media haven.

To put it bluntly, I was stunned. Taken aback. Actually, appalled might be a better word. Or perhaps horrified. Any way you cut it, I knew the calculation would be high, but until I saw the final total, I didn't realize just how high it was. Ready? *deep sigh* According to the app, since November 2012, when I launched my new personal profile, I've spent 173 days on Facebook. Yes, you read that correctly—DAYS. In more eye-opening terms, over the past two years, I've spent a full six months of my life on FB, posting statuses, replying to comments, returning messages, writing messages, sharing photos, and on and on. SIX months of my life, and for what? I'm still stunned over the results. I knew Facebook was a regular, almost daily, part of my life. I knew I spent way too much time over the site. But until I saw the actual figure, it didn't sink in just how much time I'd wasted over the past two years.

What could I have done with that extra six months? Almost anything, but specifically, I could've been writing my next book (or two). I could've read more books (I read about 50 to 80 a year, but imagine how many others I could've consumed!). The beginning of 2014, I took up crocheting once again after a 24-year absence; I could've learned quite a few new stitches or learned to crochet several new items. I could've taken more online college-level courses. Let's face it: I couldn't done a heckuva lot more interesting stuff than stare at Facebook for hours, refreshing my feed over and over again.

Now, I'm not saying you should be busy all the time, producing nothing but work. That's silly. I'm not saying social media is terrible, because it's not. But what I am saying is that six months of one's life spent on Facebook over a span of two years is a ridiculous amount of time pissed down the toilet. Time most often spent arguing or debating about politics or religion. Time that could've been more emotionally, mentally, and creatively rewarding (with more to show for it!) Six months of my life is too much of a chunk of that two years. Way too much.

By comparison, I spend much less time on Twitter. It helps that Twitter restricts your updates to 140 characters—unless you cheat and use Twitlonger, which I've done on occasion. With Twitter, I've found it helpful and informative when it comes to developing and/or breaking information on a global scale relating to science, global events, literature, tech, and countless other subjects. You will uncover information much earlier than you will at the major new outlets, such an CNN. I've seen it happen numerous times.

The best part is that Twitter takes up less time in my day. A single visit (or perhaps two) in a day usually suffices. Sometimes I won't check Twitter for days, though. But when I do, it's a quick visit that is a lot shorter than lingering for hours on Facebook. What's more, my blood pressure doesn't shoot up to dangerous levels over political and/or religious posts. Most of my feed is populated by people in the publishing industry, which is nothing but advantageous if you're a professional writer, blogger, and copy editor like I am.

So, having discovered the horrible truth of just how much I've lingered on Facebook over the past two years, I decided it was high time for a break. I won't deactivate my account, but it's clear I need to use it less often. MUCH LESS!

For now, I'll be hanging over here on my blog or on Twitter at @Mother_of_Crows if you want to connect. Or follow me. I'd like that. And hey, I'll follow back if I can. I'm at the limit right now, but I usually clean out my list every couple of months, if not sooner. Following the self-aware Roomba is interesting, but I'm sure you're much more so...right?

In the meantime, I'll devote more time and energy to my writing and fewer days to feeding my (obvious) FB addiction. I doubt most people will notice anyway, and that's another win for me.