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Commentary, Graphic

I've 'Facebooked' my life away

Published on Feb 5, 2014 3:37 PM
 
According to a calculator on the Time website, I have wasted 48 days, 17hr and 59min of my life on Facebook since I joined the social network 2,341 days ago. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

According to a calculator on the Time website, I have wasted 48 days, 17hr and 59min of my life on Facebook since I joined the social network 2,341 days ago.

In a post labelled How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook? (the negativity is Time's, not mine), congratulations are given to Facebook for turning 10 next week, but I think my wife will agree that 49 days is a huge chunk of time spent on nothing.

That is 71,639min of not spending time with her, and all of 4,298,340sec which I could have spent with our daughter.

As it is, many of my friends and family already think I spend too much time on Facebook. While on holiday, one of the first things I think about is updating my status, whether it is to check in at my location, upload a photo or say what I am doing.

At mealtimes, I habitually snap photos of my meal, although I am aware that I care very little about what my friends are eating.

And my friends wonder why I bother to comment on others' updates. Some even post comments which criticise the inanity of the comments I make.

Little of what I do matters as much as face-to-face interaction.

I learnt it the hard way two weeks ago, when I attended a friend's full-month celebration for his newborn son.

There, I met one of the new father's former colleagues. She also happens to be the cousin of another friend of mine.

That we are Facebook friends is not strange. Nor is the fact that we comment on mutual friends' updates, as we do have friends in common. What was bizarre was that when I said "hello" as I zipped past her to the buffet table, she totally ignored me.

Minutes later, she came by with a sheepish smile. She admitted that she forgot we were acquainted until our host reminded her. That we had "interacted" on Facebook as recently as last month, when she commented on one of my holiday photos, had less of an impact than the fact that we actually had not met for more than a year.

Could I fault her for being so insensitive that she thrived more on the quantity of friends than their quality?

Recently, I have noticed that quite a few of my Facebook pals were barely known to me and had been added on a whim some time back. And among them were some names and faces I did not recognise at all.

Friends who pride themselves on keeping a tighter rein on their following tell me I should cull mine in case what I post is misunderstood and shared.

Given the recent revelation on my extreme time wasting, I might do that. But with more than 1,000 friends on my list, I will have to convince my wife why I now have to spend even more time on Facebook in an effort to spend less time on it.

sherwinl@sph.com.sg

Editor's Note: In case you are thinking of using the same calculator to determine the time you have wasted, note that I used the calculator twice and received two different results.

As the calculator requires you to enter the ''average'' amount of time you think you spend on Facebook, that probably factors into the overall time ''wasted''.

It does deliver one useful figure - the number of updates made to date. Mine is 16,684, or seven a day. This excludes the comments I add on my Facebook friends' updates.

So I think it is about time that I confessed to my wife that I agree with her that I am indeed wasting too much time on Facebook.

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