Saturday, February 20, 2010

How Facebook is Worse Than Smoking

I am sure you've heard the statistic that for every cigarette you smoke you take 11 minutes off your life.

How about this statistic: the average U.S. Internet user spends more time on Facebook than on Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Amazon combined. According to Facebook, the average Facebook user spends more than 55 minutes per day on the website (or 5 cigarettes a day, however you want to look at it).

The fact that you are reading this probably from a link on Facebook (however ironic) shows that I am not anti-Facebook.  In fact, I like it.  There are many benefits to the website.  I enjoy keeping up with my friends, checking out new pictures and perusing the latest gossip.

The problem for me though (and I suspect others) is that I spend too much time on the website.

Because of this I have decided to drastically cut back on the time I spend on Facebook.  I will be going on the website once, briefly in the morning for business purposes/responding to messages and that is it.  No lunch time FB surfing or late night creeping.

Am I just becoming that old man who hates technology?  Perhaps. But the numbers do not lie.  Facebook is a time eater.

For me, the opportunity cost of Facebook is big.  I have several goals I am trying to accomplish and rarely have the time to get them done.  Here are a few things I will be doing instead of checking the latest updates on Facebook:
  • Working out: I am still working on hitting my goals previously mentioned.
  • Spending more quality time with my wonderful fiancee
  • Wedding planning
  • Anything not on a computer: I am on a computer all day at work...I do not need to be on one when I get home.
  • Sleeping: I am a big fan of sleep.
While I am laying off Facebook for the next few months I am not necessarily advocating that everyone should.   If millions of people are spending this much time on a website it can present business and networking opportunities.  It is undoubtedly a great way to spread ideas and reach out to contacts.  Also, having an outlet is fun and necessary.  Facebook can provide a good break from work and really is an easy way to stay connected with your friends.

It is all about balance.  For me, FB can still be this outlet without eating away at my valuable time if I limit how often I check the site.

So the next time you log into Facebook think of this quote from a certain former IL Governor that I've modified for my own purpose:  "[time] is a f*cking valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."

Photo: Benstein

No comments:

Post a Comment