Marketing Charts featured research that Ipsos OTX released on the amount of time we spend on social networks. According to the article, the survey showed the reported daily social network use by American social network users within 18 and 64 years old to be at an average of 3.2 hours.
3.2 hours is a huge chunk of one day. Remember that we are awake for only around 16 hours in a normal day. Take our 8-hour day job and an hour or two on the road each day, that leaves us with 6 hours. If we are quick ones and are able to shower and eat all of our meals in 2 hours, that leaves us with 4 hours.
But don’t forget household chores, random home-related errands, and other personal tasks. Yet, somehow, we sneak in 3.2 hours for social networking? No wonder we are always in a race for time.
Is this an addiction?
We use the term ”addiction” lightly nowadays, just like we do “retardation”, “insomnia”, and “ADHD”. However, ask a drunkard, chain smoker, compulsive gambler, or drug addict who has tried to quit — you’ll find that it is indeed a serious psychological challenge to do so.
Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (gambling) that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work or relationships, or health.
Shallow as it may sound to a lot, the pattern of social networking behavior seems to largely follow that of addictions. A number of people sign up to social networking websites with the intention to reconnect with a few friends but later find that their participation on the websites have already spun out of control.
Reduced interest lately
The good news is that it seems that people are catching on.
An infographic on Mashable says that 52% of social network users have “either taken or considered taking a vacation from one or more social networks in the past year”. They did so for various reasons, but a lot blamed the amount of time they have been spending on the social networks.
Pratik Dholakiya also has an interesting article about how and why there seems to be less interest in online social networking in general lately. A quick search on Google also reveals that a number of people have quit social media, and that there are those that recommend doing it.