How does Facebook affect my everyday life?
50% of Facebooks active users log onto Facebook in any given day. The average time spent on Facebook is about 23 minutes a day. That means that users are spending over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. That’s a lot of time out of our day, out of our lives. Bottom line: Facebook takes up a lot of our time.
Looking at the a group from the highest user pool of 18-23 year olds, a small survey done with ten students at Stanford showed that nine out of ten students check Facebook at least once a day, seven students checked over 10 times a day. That’s between classes, on laptops, on iPhones, and at computer clusters. Everytime they sit down at a computer, they will go on Facebook. It becomes a habit, a necessity, almost like opening up their email.
How do these students use Facebook? They chat with classmates, keep in touch with friends far away, keep family members in tune with their lives, keep in tune with others’ lives, learn more about people they just met. The general communicative functions of Facebook are becoming ever so popular and easy to use. Students post on each other’s walls, asking about weekend plans, plan birthday parties over using the events functions, update status. This is all done publically, for all their friends to see. What does this say about Facebook’s users? How does their usage of Facebook affect their lives?
Perhaps since your mom can see weekly updated pictures of you, she feels less inclined to call you and check up on what’s going on in your life. When you go back home on winter break, perhaps catching up with friends over lunch or dinner is less a priority for you. Afterall, you’ve seen their entire freshman year mapped out on their proftile. Connections between people becomes less personal, less emotional. What you know about your friends and family depends not on interactions you have in person, rather what you read on each others’ walls, what their friends are saying, what events they are attending, what statuses they post. The “feeling” one gets from interacting with a person disappears. What you learn about them through their interests, their hometown, their photos, who their friends are, all tangible things recorded on a profile page, is now what defines your friends. “Friendships” are no longer based on emotional connections, rather surface labels and images. The fact that people care so much about what they say on their profile, what others write on their profile just goes to show how important “image” has become for the average citizen.
Consider other ways spending more time on Facebook affects our lives. More time being spent on Facebook means longer interaction with and influence from advertisers. This means that the average Facebook user will also be spending more time surfing the web. Advertisesments for clothing, food services, games, will entice Facebook users to other websites, keeping them online and at their computer for longer amounts of time. People no longer will need to go out to shop for clothing, rather they can shop on americanapparel.net. These advertisements help Facebook users save time by not having to go to the store, but also minimize the number of physical interactions they have with the outside world. Are we confined to a computer screen in order to communicate with even just our next door neighbor? Are we a society who no longer values human relationships, but rather social labels and images?