Debate: Is Facebook a waste of time?


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The Independent Online

What's going on?

Facebook users who worry they may be spending too much time on the site can have their suspicions confirmed by a new tool, developed by TIME magazine.

Created to coincide with the social media site’s 10th birthday next week, the calculator estimates to the minute how much of the past decade you have spent posting, liking and poking.

But is spending lots of time on Facebook a reason to feel bad about yourself?

Absolutely not

I don’t know why but talking about social media turns people into morons. One of the main ways in which otherwise sane people act idiotic when talking about social is that they forget Facebook and Twitter users are living breathing humans. Facebook is just a new means of communication, a way that is quicker, easier and less formal than lots of other ways.

It’s fantastic for uniting families, sharing campaigns and as a journalist, getting in touch with people who have a story to tell. If you’re doing Facebook right, you’re not just stalking your friends, you’re finding things out.

You’re reading articles, you’re watching videos, you’re laughing, you’re being moved. Then you’re sharing them with the people you’re connected to. Of course people are annoying on Facebook. People are annoying in real life. At least on Facebook you have the indulgence of sighing when your friend posts another self-congratulatory reference. It’s much more tiring to hear in person.

 - Independent Social Media Editor @FelicityMorse

A thorough waste

10 minutes, 20 minutes, half a lifetime. Looking at your friends on Facebook. ‘Friends’. Competitors is probably more accurate. You don’t need studies to tell you (as they do) that if you spend a lot of time on the site, it makes you feel worse. Or that if you were feeling low when you started to look at Facebook, you will leave feeling worse.

It’s a vanity parade. If it bore any relation to real social life, it would show hundreds upon hundreds of nights in (weeks in/lives in) for every ‘Never forget!?!’ night in Tantra. Psychologists call what is happening on Facebook ‘compare and despair’.

The sum total of achievement for all the time I personally have spent on the site amounts to – one impossible crush, three nursed hatreds, and a permanent curdling of the soul. But there’s no escape. I need to know what you did last summer.