I have been wondering lately exactly what it was that I did with the spare minutes of my day before facebook sprang into my consciousness.
I am more than a little concerned to find that I quite simply don’t remember. It’s possible that I read more, or that I watched more television, or spent more time on the phone, or – surely not! – actually talked to people in the flesh, but I really couldn’t tell you. My mind draws a blank.
In my defense, most of my family and friends are on the other side of the world to me, and in that sense it’s a useful tool. With facebook for iPhone though, and live updates by email, I rarely get through an hour without some sort of interaction with the site. It is my first port of call when I have something witty to say, pictures that will show everyone just how much fun I’m having, or an overwhelming urge to check up on an ex-boyfriend. I’m the worst culprit – I can actually claim to have got a writing job on the back of my facebook updates.
All of this is why I am not terribly surprised to read that the average person who used facebook in the last 12 months has spent 70 hours 26 minutes on the site during that period, the most addicted of these spending upwards of a working week on the site during the last year.
So why is it that we all feel such compulsion to share every pointless detail of our lives with hundreds of people, many of whom we haven’t seen since we were at nursery school, and who probably couldn’t care less? Is it an egotistical thing, some sort of “Look at me, look how popular / busy / funny / drunk I am”? Or perhaps its our need for the reassurance of comments on said popularity / business / humour / drunkenness. I mean, we all like to be acknowledged, don’t we?
Whatever the motive, I challenge you to remember what you did with those random spare moments in the time before facebook. In fact, I challenge you to remember a time before facebook.