Debate: Is Facebook a waste of time?


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.

Facebook is a waste of time

Read Next

Daily catch-up: Ed Miliband on low pay; Alan Johnson on Betjeman; Tom Freeman on editing

John Rentoul
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments