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Letter #217: 2.5 Hours

May 5, 2011

Dear social media,

Holy smokes, you’ve taken over. I feel like I’ve known the greatness of your reach for a while, but yesterday I was reminded. I attended a live video conference yesterday geared toward Christian Camps, and a segment was on you. The statistics thrown out were mind-blowing, and I felt I had a pretty good grasp on your vastness to start with.

Some readers (my older ones!) may be a bit unsure what you are to begin with. It was funny to see the different depths of understanding yesterday observing solely on age. Wikipedia defines you as ‘media for social interaction.’ Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are just a few networks used to interact with you and millions of others. Something I found interesting is the third paragraph on Wikipedia cites you as an integral piece in the ‘Arab revolutions and revolts of 2011.’ A Cairo native is quoted saying, “We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world.”

Honestly, our world is 100% different because of you. When Osama Bin Laden’s death was released, new records were set for number of tweets. 27.9 million tweets were sent from 10:45 to 12:30 the night the news was released. At one point there were more than 5,000 tweets per second. Our world’s a changing.

During my conference, the lady said Twitter grew 347% and Facebook 112% from 2009 to 2010 and has seen similar growth this year. These are astonishing numbers to me, but it’s not the craziest statistic. According to this lady, the average person spends 2.5 hours a day on programs classified as you. TWO AND A HALF HOURS. Are you kidding me? I get 24 hours a day, seven to eight of which I’m hopefully sleeping. At least eight are spent working, an hour and a half eating, an hour or so getting dressed for the day and ready for bed. I’m already at 18 and a half hours. Take out the two and half hours, and I have three hours left.

The sad part is, if I add up all the time in a whole day I’m connected to you, it’s probably close. Morning Twitter check, Facebook so I can respond to a message which turns into perusing friends’ profiles, at least five more tweet checks throughout the day. I never spend more than 15 minutes at a time…that would be ridiculous. I just forget the 15 minutes add up over the span of the day.

Yes, you’ve changed our world. You’ve changed individuals. You’ve changed me. Some for the better, some for the worst. Today, I’m re-evaluating my use of time in your realm.

Signing out (after I check a few of my favorite blogs of course!),

2.5 hour evaluator

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