Why I think Social Media is the new TV. And that’s not a good thing.

This morning I almost fell off the chair while looking over my RescueTime stats. Apparently I’ve spent nearly 10 hours on Facebook, 4 hours on Twitter and 16 minutes on Google Plus in the past 30 days. That’s one whole day spent zapping news feeds, liking and commenting on social media sites. Outrageous, really.

It reminds me of when I was a kid. I would come from school, do my homework, write some code, play some games and then watch cartoons, M*A*S*H or Police Academy for about an hour. I didn’t do it every day, so I’m assuming I was spending about 15 – 20hrs per month in front of the TV. I was a kid back then so wasting time in front of the TV wasn’t such an outrageous thing, but it’s amazing how much my social media behaviour today resembles what I was doing with TV as a kid.

Firstly, social media, as TV, stops my brain from thinking about stuff. I remember that when I was watching TV as a kid, my consciousness would stop thinking about school, homework and all the stuff I actually needed to do. Hence I almost never got anything done on time. Secondly, not a lot of interesting stuff ever came out of that TV box. Yes, TV documentaries were sometimes revealing in the same way social media helps me discover interesting news and events today, but that probably only happens in 10% of the time spent on either.

However, the most interesting thing I’ve noticed while looking over the stats this morning is that I consume social media all day long. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s bad, that’s real bad because it’s incredibly distracting. As a kid, I only watched TV in the evening. Which means that, during the day, it wasn’t a distraction. Social media on the other hand interrupts me every other hour, according to RescueTime.

Now, there’s one more thing I remember from when I was a kid. I was in my last year of high-school and had managed to get myself quite busy by doing freelancing work, preparing for final exams and starring in a TV show. I tried cutting back on my TV time, but found it impossible until I made quite an extreme move: threw it out of the flat. And now I’m wondering if I should take the same approach with social media.

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