The following article appeared in Forbes Magazine in June of this year: “Americans Spent On Average More Than 1,300 Hours On Social Media Last Year.” In the article it said:
Last year, driven in no small part by the pandemic, Americans spent more than an average 1,300 hours on social media according to a new study from Uswitch. Facebook led the way, where Americans spent an average 58 minutes a day on the app – or 325 hours a year.
I wrote a blog post on this topic in November 2009 when studies showed users spent 72 hours a year on Facebook. Think about that for a second. In a little over a decade the hours spent on this particular platform has quadrupled!
I don’t want to join the predictable throng saying how dangerous this is. I suspect most of you have common sense and understand that already. Facebook and other social media are a wonder of technology and allow for unique ways to connect. We have also written here about the importance of platform and specifically showing engagement with your readers is of particular importance in getting the word out about your ideas and your book.
However, not all writers are full-time. Some must juggle day jobs or home-life responsibilities around their writing. So let’s say the average writer is cramming 20 hours a week of actual writing into their craft.
Thus if you are a writer AND you “Facebook,” this would mean the average writer is spending nearly a month’s worth of work time on Facebook or other social media.
In 325 hours, a nose-to-grindstone writer could produce 50,000 words on their next work-in-progress (that is about 1/2 page per hour). A motivated person could memorize the Constitution and the Epistle to the Galatians. An avid reader could consume at least a dozen of their favorite books.
Don’t get me wrong. I know there are tremendous benefits for the author in connecting with readers via social networking. And I’m not criticizing Facebook or Facebook users. My concern is with the amount of time authors spend on something other than making their next book a masterpiece.
Social media or social networking is something being “added” to our lives. And if something is added, something is usually subtracted. My question is, “What has been subtracted?”
An entire generation is growing up with social media as something embedded in the fabric of their lives. Not an addition. The irony is that in their case, subtracting now means subtracting social media! Not adding it.
It is also true that some of us have “addictive” personalities, and the snare of social networking can become an addiction if one isn’t careful.
It is also true that if we didn’t have social media, it may be that we wouldn’t spend the extra time writing. We’d find some other distraction to avoid having to write! (Like sorting your bookshelves by color.)
Next time you enter the social networking world, time yourself. Then ask if it was beneficial to you personally, professionally, spiritually, emotionally, or otherwise. As with all things, use common sense, discipline, and moderation. I’ve heard there are software programs (article about a few linked here) that can help by literally turning off your access after a certain period of time.
It will also keep your agent or your editor from posting a comment on your feed like “What are you doing here? You are on a deadline!”