How Much is Too Much?

Ian HancockIndustry News, Social Media

Lots of people access Facebook and other social media platforms through their smartphone. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s convenient. Carrying your social media everywhere you go is great if you have a few minute to kill or you need to contact someone. A recent study has revealed some very interesting, if not worrying stats about smartphone usage and social media. For example: 74% of 18-24 year olds reach for their smartphone as soon as they wake up. And 89% do so in the first 15 minutes of being awake. This indicates how important peoples phones are to them – its often the first thing people think of when they wake up.

The most revealing data is that which is about Facebook itself. On average we make 14 visits a day to FB on our smartphones, each visit lasting an average of two and a half minutes. It seems that we like to login all over the place and all the time; at the gym, out shopping, at the cinema, preparing meals, just before bed and in the evenings are all popular times to access the site. Usage is even greater on weekends, when Facebook overtakes texting in terms of time spent doing it.

Remember that this is smartphone only data – it doesn’t include time spend on the site on PC’s, laptops or tablets.

Whilst on the social network our favourite things to do are check the news feed, post updates and send messages. It must stem from an inherent belief that if we are not checking Facebook regularly we could miss something.

It begs the question: what on earth did people do before Facebook and iPhone’s came along a few years back? Facebook is the most downloaded app for both iPhone and Android. In the West a majority of us have a smartphone in our pockets and the rest of the world is catching up. Demand for instant information is greater than it ever has been. We want to know what is going on at all times, be it international news, our personal lives, celebrity gossip work or other areas of of life. Moreover we are expected to constantly be glued to our phones, answering calls, responding to texts and replying to emails. If an answer or response isn’t given quickly we start to sweat it – are they OK, have I upset them, they must have lost their phone, battery must be flat….

The sad fact is for many, particularly young people their life is their phone. Things that happen outside of their phone only have value as a status, a tweet or a text. Moments and events are rated by how many Likes they gain or how many times they are re-tweeted.

Be honest with yourself; could you go a day without your phone? Or without logging into your preferred social networking sites? Can you even sit with a friend or colleague for more than a few minutes and talk to them without looking at your phone?