America’s new pastime:  FACEBOOK

“As of 2011, there are 500,000,000 active Facebook users. Approximately 1 in EVERY 13 people on EARTH.”

Over 700 billion minutes every month are spent on Facebook! If I calculated the math correctly, that accounts to 79,863,091 years spent on Facebook every month. If you currently have a Facebook account, how much time do you spend monthly, weekly, or even daily on the website? Of the 500,000,000 users, over 250,000,000 log in every day to access their accounts. 28% of Facebook users check their Facebook before even getting out of bed! In fact, 57% of people talk to people more online than they do in real life!

While reading through all of these statistics, I was thinking to myself, “How did I become involved in Facebook and social interaction online?” Ironically, I still remember the day I entered the online social world. My experience began at my 6th grade birthday party when one of my friends downloaded AOL Instant Messenger on my computer. Back then (2003), AOL could be considered the MySpace or Facebook of its day.  Little did I know, my life would be changed forever. Whenever I logged on to the computer, I would always sign into AOL to see if any of my friends were online to chat while I worked on homework or surfed the web. For me, these were the days when social interaction online increased between my friends. Two years later, a new social website named MySpace started to emerge. As more and more of my friends transitioned to MySpace, I followed the trend. Toward the end of my 8th grade year and beginning of my freshmen year, Facebook become popular and once again, my friends began transitioning to this new website. I always wondered what caused these transitions. What were people my age looking for in online interaction?

If you remember how you transitioned into the social world, please e-mail me your story. ( I am interested to see if anyone had a similar experience to mine with different online transitions starting with AOL and moving through other websites with friends until they found today’s social networking powers such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace.

Before posting this blog, I did some research on Facebook statistics and why so many people let Facebook be a part of their daily life. I came across an interesting article on CNN Health entitled, “Five clues that you are addicted to Facebook.” The list includes:

  1. You lose sleep over Facebook
    1. How many times at night do you find yourself procrastinating on Facebook when you have homework that needs to be completed? Do you stay up late in the evening to get that one last poke in before bed?
  2. You spend more than an hour a day on Facebook
    1. Does your daily routine include Facebook? Is it something you check in the morning (before you get out of bed?) or the last thing you check before sleeping?
  3. You become obsessed with old loves
    1. Do not let friending an old boyfriend/girlfriend turn into something it shouldn’t. Catch yourself before you find yourself creeping on their pictures, information, wall, etc.
  4. You ignore the important things in life in favor of Facebook ( I tweaked number 4)
    1. Does Facebook come before your children, family, schoolwork, and career? Facebook can be a great tool for reconnecting with family and friends, but do not let it turn into a dangerous time consuming habit.
  5. The thought of getting off Facebook leaves you in a cold sweat
    1. According to Pile, “Try going a day without Facebook. If you find it causes you a lot of stress and anxiety, you really need to get some help.”

The FACEBOOK Challenge, are YOU ready?!
(And no, this does not have anything to do with the 30 day Facebook Picture Challenge)

                One evening two months ago, I was talking to a close friend of mine on the phone. I was telling him about my daily Facebook habit and how I needed to invest my time in something more valuable. He told me if I sent him my Facebook password, he would change it and not allow me to log in for 30 days, yes 30 days! At first, I thought he was crazy. The following morning, without even thinking about it, I woke up and checked my Facebook. One minute later, I sent him my account password. I knew it was time for change and for 30 days, I lived without Facebook. Within those 30 days, I learned a great deal about myself, my time, and how I interacted with friends and family.

Could you go without Facebook for 30 days? If you accept the challenge, find a trusted friend/family member to change your account password. Then, for 30 days experience life with the 43% of people who talk to more people in real life than they do online. After 30 days, you may have a new outlook on life, social interaction, and how you spend your time…

This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind… let it be something good.” -Anonymous