Yes, people waste time on Facebook - but that's hardly the most important problem with the site

People need to be much more aware of the risks they might be running by revealing too much personal information

Share
Related Topics

Does anybody really want or need a ‘tool’ to tell them how much time they spend on Facebook?  Regular users know perfectly well how much time they waste – if that’s what it is – each day. They hardly need the services of a bit of gimmickry developed by TIME magazine to coincide with Facebook’s tenth anniversary next week.

The idea is, apparently, to show users via a calculator-style function how many days of their past life their Facebook use equates to. And then what? Is it supposed to shock them into reducing their time or giving it up?

Much more seriously interesting is what Facebook does, how people use it and why. I am ‘friends’ (and I have actually met him and his mother face-to-face once) with a young man, aged 12, who has written, and had published, an impressive little book about bullying. He has an engaging, quirky style and he uses Facebook (and Twitter) in a very mature way - mostly to promote his book and to share reactions to fiction he’s read. That seems exemplary to me and I don’t suppose he spends more than a few minutes a day on it.

On the other hand I am also ‘friends’ with a 15 year old girl whom I know well in real life. She and her friends, both the real and the internet-only ones, seem to be on either  Facebook or Twitter almost continuously telling us all that they’re tired, that they hate Tuesdays or have had a ‘crap day’ – which really does seem a pointless waste of time. And, I suspect a great deal of time - but I doubt that a calculator to indicate exactly how much would make any difference.

Adults meanwhile – or at least the ones I’m in contact with via Facebook – mostly seem to do one of three things. Either they swap amusing things which they’ve seen or heard, often with a photograph which is quite fun and doesn’t take long. Or they share proud pictures of their children or pets. Others like me (and my eleven year old colleague) use it for pretty shameless promotion of our wares – books, articles and so on, in my case. My twitter/Facebook/Linkedin activity might add up to an hour a day in total and I see it as part of my work, as do many other people I know. And none of us needs the TIME magazine tool to shock us into changing our habits.

I’ve no idea what the forthcoming tool cost to develop but the money would surely have been better spent trying to find more effective ways of dealing with privacy issues. People, adults as well as children and young people, need to be much more aware of the risks they might be running by revealing too much personal information in very public places.  It has been said many times before but it is still not taken seriously enough.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher, Permanent Role in Ashford

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad urgently seeks a qualif...

SAP BI CONSULTANT

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BI CONSULTA...

Infrastructure Manager - Southampton - Up to £45K

£35000 - £45000 per annum + 36 days holiday and more: Deerfoot IT Resources Li...

Drama Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Liverpool: We are looking for someone who can t...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Israeli soldiers ride atop a tank outside the southern Gaza Strip.  

War is war: Why I stand with Israel

Tom Doran
 

Spy chief speaks on the record: "Thank you, and that's it, really"

John Rentoul
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice