There is a Time piece that purports to estimate how much time individuals have "wasted" on Facebook since joining it. It assumes that each posting to one's timeline takes about 17 minutes, on average, and the search algorithm totals the number of postings made (not the amount of time surfing, reading, and messaging!).
By their count, I have posted over 14,600 items to my Facebook feed since I joined it over eight years ago [a rough average of more than four items posted per day!]. By their estimate, I have wasted 35 days and 10 hours posting items on Facebook. Of course this is a very rough estimate. In my case it is likely a gross underestimate of the time I have "wasted" [or spent!] on Facebook. But here are some reasonable qualifications:
- The estimate is based on the assumption of 24-hour days. Even though I read things on Facebook and even post things there all times of the day and night, it might be more reasonable to estimate the number of 8-hour workdays lost. In my case that would be 106 days and 2 hours, which seems much closer to the amount of time I've spent on Facebook since joining it.
- However, many of my postings are just "shares" of something someone else posted, and those shares take only a minute or less; others are links to blog posts (like this one) which often take an hour or more to write.
- I spend a lot of time reading things on Facebook, following links from FB friends, messaging friends, etc. I am quite certain I spend much more time on FB than 17 minutes per posting. As an example of this point, I know one person who is on FB but who never clicks on "like", never posts anything, and never shares a thing but is still on FB on average a couple of hours each day just reading items and following links.
- I know lots of people who hold full-time jobs, don't use FB while they are at work, and still spend a lot of time on FB. It is a form of social networking, after all, and this social networking should probably NOT be thought of as time wasted. It provides happiness, joy, information, connections, etc. for its participants. I'm on it so much because I enjoy it. And from this perspective, unless you're from the Max Weber sense of Protestantism and the Calvinistic work ethic, it is difficult to see something that gives pleasure as time "wasted".
- I know others who use FB to try to expand their business options and contacts. For these people, too, it is hard to think of FBing as time wasted.
- In my case, I've been mostly retired for the past few years. What would I have been doing if I hadn't been on FB? Reading more? Writing more for the blog [www.EclectEcon.net]? Watching more television? Spending more time practicing musical instruments or studying roles for plays and films? Learning and installing Netflix so I could watch tonnes of old movies and tv shows on demand? Gotten a new job (doing what? maybe as a Walmart greeter or as a squeegee kid?)?
- In other words, what have I given up to be on FB so much? What are the opportunity costs of my having spent so much time on FB?
- Given the feasible options for me, and especially given my revealed preferences, I really doubt if I have "wasted" much, if any, time at all on FB.