Happy Birthday Facebook!

Facebook turned 10 on Tuesday, 4 February. This makes Facebook the granddaddy of social media, launching just before Youtube on 14 February 2005. Twitter was next on 21 March 2006, with other social media giants Instagram and Snapchat on 6 October 2010 and September 2011, respectively. I’ve been on Facebook since November of 2007, when I was 14 years old. Now 21, I’ve been on Facebook for over 6 years!

So I got to wondering… how much time have I spent on Facebook in six years? Well, Wolfram Alpha has a nifty Personal Analytics Report that generates a wide array of data about your account, from your usage stats to network and so much more! Trust me, this thing is cool. I’ve generated multiple reports over the years just to see what stats they can pull, and what this reveals about my interaction with the website. My favorites are the post stats and weekly interface activity, which calculate things such as average number of likes, comments, even the time of activity and whether I access Facebook from my phone or computer! I understand this might sound a little creepy or invasive, but this is a public account. If you’re posting to your Facebook(and subsequently giving permission to Wolfram Alpha when you do a report), you have a right to access this stuff! It’s made by you!

A clip from my report showing when I post most often and what type of content I post
A clip from my report showing when I post most often and what type of content I post

Chris Wilson of Time Magazine posted “How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook?” on 27 January 2014, allowing readers to access a little calculator that can add up how much time you’ve spent on Facebook since you first logged on. Again, this information is your private information, and is not publicized by Facebook… but you can bet they have it.

Think about how often you check Facebook – probably pretty often since you check on your phone through the day, on your computer during class and after class and every time in between. How many of us keep our phones by our bedside? And what if these isolated events were saved for one Facebook binge session per day – how long would you be on Facebook? I’ll bet you underestimate that time.

The average user is on Facebook for 17 minutes per day. I think my usage is a lot higher, and I bet a lot of us millenials use Facebook for more than 17 minutes per day, but let’s just use that number. If that time is accumulated over 6 years, that totals 22 days, 17 hours and 20 minutes on Facebook overall. Woof.

Ok, so I’m not even at a month yet, though in my 1914 days on Facebook, I’ve posted over 7660+ things. I’m pretty sure that I’ve spent much more time with people, face-to-face in real time(not facetiming). This time isn’t exactly quanitifiable or calculable, but it is invaluable. Facebook has revolutionized the web and our methods of social interaction, for better and worse. No invention will be singularly good or bad; all we can deal with is the consequences and learn to be better because of them.

Facebook is still a child. And same with those other kids, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and the like. They’re growing, and we are too. Use social media with an awareness of how it affects you and your peers, and also how much time you devote to it!

Thanks for reading,
Ellen

Update: Facebook has a little Look Back thingy that pulls some data from your Facebook  over the past 5 years and compiles it into a short video. This is a little weirder than the Wolfram Report, in my opinion, but it has its appeal!

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