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People are often complaining about how much time social media seems to cost them. The reasons they cite are generally along the lines of reading lots of inane material, looking at photos of people they don't really know, and responding in kind.
I think there's another, much more insidious way that we lose time on Social Media -- we edit out all the times we reload pages or wait for a response.
Think of it this way -- when you upload photos or post a note to Facebook, you click on the link, wait a few seconds, click on the post button, wait a few seconds, upload, wait a few seconds. Or, there's the fact that Twitter is often really slow. We've all seen the Fail Whale when the server cloud can't keep up with requests, so we generally hit the refresh button and get back into the flow.
All those seconds add up and next thing you know, you've spent hours of your life watching animated icons telling you to wait. And you edit that time out; that is, you don't count that as part of what you're doing, it just slips away.
In one sense this is a perfect Buddhist moment of Nirvana -- your mind is blank, you have attained a state of nothingness. In a sense of living life to the fullest, knowing that the clock is ticking... yeah, I think that's where I see the dark side of social media.
It's not that Social Media is bad, it's that the technology, and the way we use it, is stealing away our lives a few minutes at a time. It's no different than rush hour traffic, or waiting in line at the 12 items or less behind someone with 15 items and three forms of payment.
Except you eventually get home, or through the checkout lane. But with phone apps, computers at work, at home, laptops... it's like taking that traffic jam and long line with you where ever you go...
Fallen Depths: Re: Time lost on Twitter
"We" as a whole do have the tendency to overdo the social media but I think it has it's place for enriching our lives. For example, I would never have found your blog if not for Twitter and I have learned a lot from your writing that I actually apply to my work and life generally. I almost don't read books anymore because I follow so many blogs where I get to discuss current events or social trends with others who are interested in the same topics. I am also introduced to topics I didn't know anything about and so, again, my life is enriched much more than if I was one of my friends who sticks their noses up at the thought of spending time blogging or tweeting with make-believe people in the cloud.
It does have to be limited and is no replacement for a real network of friends or family but online life is good.
Oregoanna: Re: Time lost on Twitter
A fundamental truth about knowingly and willingly frittering our lives away, if ever there was one.
Social media also add to the same damaging pattern that watching television for hours on end has additionally been doing to us, for decades.
(And sadly, while movie standards have fallen, the standards of TV production have actually been improving over the years, making it even harder to desist.)
The freak out insight about the impact of all this occurs when you take the time to add your sleep hours per day to your social media and computer hours each day to your television and DVD hours each day. There goes my life! And most of it spent just sitting on my butt!