According to Nielsen’s report, American people spent the staggering amount of 53 billion minutes on Facebook in May this year, much more than any other site.
With 150 million users, it means that each American user spent 350 minutes a month, or 10 minutes a day on Facebook. However, this is much less than I expected.
I open Facebook whenever I turn on my laptop and close it when the computer shuts down. Of course, I do not spend all my time on Facebook, but I average 100 minutes a day after working time, ten times longer than what Nielsen calculated in its report.
I am also using Blogger and Yahoo Messenger. This means my time on the Internet using social networks and the blog is much longer. And I am probably no exception.
So when do I ‘waste’ time on Facebook?
In my country, it is hard to access Facebook (for many reasons) in governmental offices. There are ways to break the firewall but they are quite inconvenient. So I often use Facebook in my spare time somewhere outside the office, or at home.
Every day, Facebook takes at least an hour of my sleeping time, at least an hour of time when I ought to talk with friends or others in my family. It also takes a couple of hours a week when I should go out to ensure that I am still living a 'real' life.
In return, it brings me so many friends in an increasingly widening network. I connect with my friends through a computer; express my emotions through words and icons on the screen. I smile, laugh; am happy, sad, and angry through the screen.
Facebook actually brings me to a virtual life.
Not only Facebook but the Internet is making it possible for people to spend more time in a virtual life. In other words, people are losing their time in 'real' life.
The question is why people seem to be absorbed in virtual life. Is it easier to talk with others there, easier to express ideas and feeling? The answer, to some extent, is simple – it is easier because we are just communicating with an inanimate thing.
There is an idea that Facebook has changed the way people live. It might be true. Perhaps instead of spending our time on Facebook, we should start thinking about shutting down the computer and going outside.