Media Ecology and Digital Detox

“And so the morning progresses. From the moment you wake up until you’ve thrown the first cup of coffee down your throat, your attention is dominated by technology. Texts, emails, social media, games, news headlines, blogs, and YouTube videos hold you captive in a vice-like grip.” (― Damon Zahariades, Digital Detox: Unplug To Reclaim Your Life). I understand digital detox as a period a person spends during which he or she refrains from using any kind of electronic device such as a smartphone or computers which is a chance to reduce stress or to focus on the interactions in the real physical world.

Facebook is big. Bigger than Justin Bieber or Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter following. Hell, it’s even bigger than obesity and possibly just as lethal!” (― Gemini Adams, The Facebook Diet: 50 Funny Signs of Facebook Addiction and Ways to Unplug with a Digital Detox). The number hours people spend on social media is increasing by the second. Teens spend as long as 9 hours on social media while 30% of all their time is allocated to social media interactions and to add to that, over 60% of social media time is facilitated by a smartphone or a mobile device. Features like live streaming and 3600 photos and videos sharing which are in fact ways to attract and engage more audience. The more recent social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are still looking for their places in the race. Approximately, $36 billion in 2017 were spent in lieu of advertising on social media platforms. When compared the time people spend on social media with the time they indulge in activities that they can be undertaken in the real world (such as running Greece marathon or climbing mount Everest, maybe?), it was concluded that (assuming a person on average spends 2 hours which is 116 minutes) a person spends 5 years and 4 months of his/ her lifetime on social media. Imagine the time that will be wasted when these (and maybe other) social media platforms get updated over a period of years. The other time consumer is the television. A person will notedly spend 7 years and 8 months ogling at the TV, in a lifetime.

Breaking down the time spent on the smartphones (read social media), it breaks down in the following: 40 minutes of everyday on YouTube (that is 1 year and 10 months of one’s lifetime), 35 minutes of everyday on Facebook (that is 1 year and 7 months of one’s lifetime), Snapchat and Instagram next with 25 minutes (1 year and 2 months on a lifetime) and 15 minutes (8 months for a lifetime) respectively and the last in line is Twitter with 1 minute a day totaling to 18 days in one’s lifetime.

A survey in 2012 found out that 75% of people confessed to using smartphones while in the bathroom (doing their business) out of which 40% figure accounts to social media usage only! This trend is very famous amongst 18 to 24 years age group, they while away their bathroom time on social media platforms.

If researchers are to be believed, this figure has shown a rising with passing year. Every social media user has twice as many accounts as they had back in 2012. It can be concluded that social media is capturing more and more of our time each day.


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