Confession: I sometimes pick up my phone, check Facebook, close the app, then open it again without realizing what I’m doing.
I even sometimes open Facebook on my phone when I have it open on my desktop right in front of me.
Sadly, Facebook isn’t even my favorite social medium. I prefer Twitter and probably use it more.
I couldn’t even tell you how many times I day I check social media, but I can tell you how the flow goes, according to where the apps are located on my phone. I check Instagram, then Twitter, then Facebook. Then, sometimes, I start all over again.
I’m on social media so often during any given day that I can’t even measure how much time I spend on social. At least some of my students have the same problem. Following a recent time tracking exercise, my student editors reported that social media usage was difficult to track accurately because they popped on and off of social on their phones pretty much all day, each time they got a free minute. I do the same thing.
People spend an average of about two hours a day on social media. If we’re honest, it’s easy to see how that can happen.
We use social media so frequently that we’ve begun thinking of it as an addiction.
We’re all doing this social media thing, but do we really understand why?
The media part of the term is about how we use various mediums or technologies to create and maintain those relationships, while building trust.
Safko posits that social media is a new set of tools that allow us to connect and build relationships. He claims social media is doing what traditional mass media like telephones, advertising and televisions used to do.
I’m not sure I agree with Safko here. It seems disconnected to think that social media is replacing traditional communication tools. After all, Americans still spend about four hours a day watching television. I don’t think we can label that “replaced.”
Perhaps a better way to consider the role of social media is its ability to add to or supplement existing tools. Social media is another method we can use to communicate… another tool in our communication toolbox.
What do you think?