That’s how much time Facebook’s 500 million active users spend on the site every month! 700 000 000 000 minutes. That’s the equivalent of 1,3 million years – nearly 18 000 lifetimes!
And 7 years ago Facebook didn’t even exist! What did we use to do with all that time??
A recent study of media habits found that 33% of people surveyed admitted to checking Facebook before they even went to the bathroom in the morning; 21% admitted to checking it in the middle of the night; and half of them considered themselves Facebook addicts. Clearly something about Facebook has captivated us and drawn us in.
Me personally? I love social media – Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc. (just not LinkedIn – please stop sending me invites!) They have all helped me build a platform, learn from influential leaders, and stay in touch with friends around the world in remarkable ways.
But even as I type this on my iPad I have a sinking feeling of being overwhelmed.
And I’m beginning to feel like maybe, just maybe, all of my devices, my gadgets, my apps, my social media, own me as much as I own them. As they constantly beep, buzz and vibrate around me, screaming for my attention, I’m starting to wonder whether all this was a good idea in first place.
Now please don’t get me wrong – social media and technology are good things. But, like most good things, they can become bad things.
Social media is both a blessing and a curse.
How we use it will determine which one it will be in our lives. Here are a few tips that can guide us along the way:
1) Own Up
No one likes to admit they’re addicted to something, but if you want to get on top of your habits, you’ve got to own up.
Ask your friends/spouse/children/parents, “Am I using my iPhone/Blackberry too much? Am I on Facebook too much?” Even if their answer is subjective, it is still helpful. Chances are if your wife says you are using your iPad too much, you probably are. (Thanks darling!) 🙂
Of course there is no right answer to “How much is too much?”, but a really good exercise is to record how much time you spend on Facebook in a given week. We generally tend to underestimate, and a good look at the raw data may be shocking and revealing.
2) Set Boundaries
I am convinced that in our information overloaded culture, discipline is becoming more and more key. Establishing clear boundaries, while tough to do at first, creates freedom and space in our lives. If we are always just reacting to our devices, compulsively checking email or scrolling through News Feeds, then it’s too easy for technology to get a grip on us and suffocate us.
Some ideas may be to have designated times in your family for going online, or perhaps a “tech-free hour” where you gather for a meal and everyone has to put their phones in a basket or switch them off.
The point is find ways of putting boundaries on your social media that work for you/your family – and force yourself to live within those boundaries.
3) Enjoy It
Having owned up, and established clear boundaries, you are then free to just enjoy the wonders of the Interweb! As I said, social media can be a wonderful thing. But we enjoy it most, when we enjoy it best.