Once upon a time there was only a telephone. A telephone that had no hold button, no call waiting, no call forwarding. A telephone that had a busy signal if you were on it. A telephone that had no camera, wasn't portable and plugged into your wall. And a phone number that did not have to include an area code. Other than that telephone, which was the only form of communication outside of physically talking to someone there was nothing. That was it. And I think I liked it better.
I did because you actually had to TALK TO SOMEONE. You got to carry on a conversation and hear the person's voice. You could hear their emotions. If they were excited you heard it, it didn't come through in a text message with a few extra exclamation points to let you know how excited they were. It wasn't tweeted for someone to possibly catch on your news feed. And it wasn't posted on Facebook. It was all in a phone call. It was personal and it felt great.
I am certainly guilty of falling into the social networking trap. I have had a Facebook page for several years as well as a twitter account. Recently however, I have come to question the value of them and wondered how much time it has taken away from well....being truly social. I also wonder how lazy it has made us in relationships or in particular, our daily lives. We most certainly found other interests before these things took over.
Out of habit I find myself constantly checking Facebook. Then after I check it I ask myself why. Is there really anything pressing on it I couldn't live without knowing? If someone wanted me to know something, couldn't they call me?
In the past year I have attempted to utilize social networking to share my blog. I post them on FB and twitter. But what else do I need it for?
I did some research on a few form of social networking and the results are staggering to me. The amount of time spent on FB and twitter alone makes me wonder how people get anything done at all. Facebook users go on the site an average of 40 times per month. They spend an average of 23 minutes per visit. That's 15 1/2 hours a month that I imagine may be better used doing other things. There are 770 billion page views per month; 200 million smart phone users access the site every single day.
In January of 2010 it was reported that Twitter use had risen 82% in one year. That statistic is sure to have risen even more sharply since that time. There are a lot of people that don't understand twitter. I went so far as to have a session with a "twitter expert" to learn it. I did and lately, just as with Facebook, I am wondering what the point is.
A fellow blogger (A City Mom) today posted the following status on FB: "Let's add Pinterest right behind Twitter on my list of time-killing social media that I really just don't get." Amen City Mom. It made me realize that what I had been feeling lately was shared by others.
My first experience with social laziness was with the invention of the text message. I used to always ask my daughters why they couldn't just pick up their phone and make a call. If they needed to ask someone a time pressing question I had to beg them to just CALL. Average text messages per month in the age group 13-17 is a whopping 3,339. Over 100 per day. Just wondering how much time that takes away from little things like studying. Or how many are done in class where phones most likely aren't allowed.
Now we have another site called Pinterest. It's the fastest growing site in history with 10 million monthly visitors in it's first year. I don't really get the site, as A City Mom has also stated and I have purposely avoided it. I have a job, a family and a life. I used to have hobbies that have fallen to the wayside as I have spent so much time on social networking.
As anything, there are some benefits to the various forms. Facebook has reconnected me with some old friends. It has helped spread my blog. However, I don't need to spend nearly as much time on it as I have. I used to sew; I could make something quite lovely in the amount of time I spend on FB in any given month. Or, paint a picture, draw, design, read or tackle any of the numerous hobbies I used to enjoy.
Twitter has been useful in spreading and receiving news before it is even broadcast. Yet, is that what the average person uses it for?
I have felt for a long time that I'd better keep up on all things social media. Yet, lately I feel in order to do so I would have to quit my job and lock myself in the house to learn it all. I don't have time to discover the "infinite benefits" of Linkedin. I don't have the patience to learn Pinterest. I don't really care enough about learning Google Plus. And I most certainly don't have the brain power to absorb all the apps that my I Phone has to offer.
I say for a week everyone out there takes a hiatus from social media. Not if that's your job, but all forms of personal social networking. Stay off of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other things that take time away from your life. Pick up your phone and call an old friend instead of texting or "Facebooking" them.
Find a hobby you liked or may like and spend some time doing it. Go out for a walk. Go to the gym. See a show. Go to a concert. Just do something as though these things did not exist. During those hours perhaps you may find something that is truly useful to you.
And who knows, maybe you'll "stumble upon" something that you really enjoy.