Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Big Waste of Time

I've written about my favorite poet, John Keats, in an earlier post. Because Keats died so young, he thought he wouldn't make a name for himself and that everything he had done would not be remembered. He even left the epitaph for his tombstone which says, "Here lies one whose name was writ in water."

Even though Keats thought his life was nothing, he put more into his short 26 years than most of us. His life wasn't wasted, and he left many great works of literature to prove it.

Everywhere today, I see people, myself included, throwing away our short lives by wasting time. I sit and watch a stupid television show whose plot I can't remember the next morning. I read silly books that do nothing to increase my knowledge. I sit at the computer too many hours, checking emails and searching for future projects that I probably won't complete. I use my phone too many times a day to check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. 

Smart phones are like an IV pouring life's blood into our bodies: we can't live without them. Several times, I have had a student refuse to put away his phone in class. When I ask for it, he refused which is automatically a 3-day suspension. A teen would rather be suspended 3 days than be separated from his phone. That's a problem.

Anyway, I set off to find out how much time we spend/waste on various tasks. The US Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics shows some fascinating charts and graphs about all kinds of data. There are charts that show how much time is spent taking care of elderly people and children, spent working in and out of the home, and also how much is spent sleeping. One chart shows that women spend twice as much time as men performing household activities. Imagine that?

Here's another one about high school students and the amount they put into various events:

You can check out more charts here: Bureau of Labor Statistics Charts

Now back to the problem with electronics and the amount of time they consume. The above chart shows that high school students spend around 3 hours daily in leisure time. How much of that do you think is spent on social media? A study by BI Intelligence found the following information:

·      Social is now the top Internet activity: Americans spend an average of 37 minutes daily on social media, a higher time-spend than any other major Internet activity, including email.
·      Social-mobile rules: 60% or so of social media time is spent not on desktop computers but on smartphones and tablets. 
·      Facebook has a monster lead in engagement: Facebook is a terrific absorber of audiences' time and attention, 114 billion minutes a month in the U.S. alone, on desktop PCs and smartphones. By comparison, Instagram commands 8 billion minutes a month, and Twitter just 5.3 billion. 
·      Facebook attracts roughly seven times the engagement that Twitter does, when looking at both smartphone and PC usage, in per-user terms
·      Snapchat is a smaller network than WhatsApp, but outpaces it in terms of time-spend per user
·      Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn have made major successful pushes in 2013 to increase engagement on their mobile sites and apps. 

I have to say that much of this information about time spent on social media didn't surprise me. As I stated earlier, I'm just as guilty of SMO -- Social Media Overload. I'm trying to limit myself by leaving my phone in my purse during the day, but I’ve got a long way to go. I definitely need to stop wasting time and be more like Keats so my name doesn’t disappear.
How much time do you spend on social media? What's your biggest waste-of-time activity?