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

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Liberal Democrats leader says efforts need to be focused on cracking down on the criminal gangs  

Nick Clegg: We should to go to war on drugs, not on addicts

Nick Clegg
East German border guards stand on a section of the Berlin wall in front of the Brandenburg gate on November 11, 1989  

Twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall fell, Hungary’s PM thinks it is Western capitalism that is in its death throes

Peter Popham
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes