Why Taming Social Media Makes Sense

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | January 03, 2013 | @ChiefKMasimba

Social media, in its gazillion manifestations, is eating up one of the most precious resources that we have in our lives: time. I think social media tools are great, they’re making the world flatter thus facilitating a faster exchange of information and ideas. That’s the ideal. The reality is most users  wallow in social media spaces killing precious amounts of time which they could devote to other things to advance their lives.

The amount of time being wasted is growing dynamically in tandem with the rapid growth in hyper-connected, hand-held devices. Sadly there is no accountability for all these huge amounts of wasted time: call it an investment into a digital vacuum, a dark hole with no echo. If anything, most people act all busy frittering their lives away all in the name of wanting to stay connected to the world round them – all much ado about nothing.

Indeed we use social media platforms  for a number of things: production, marketing, leisure and connection. But the latter two dominate the space. This time-wasting is a real problem with terrible consequences for productivity at personal and national levels especially in countries that are experiencing widespread connectivity for the first time in the age of social networks. Use of social media for education or meaningful content creation is miniscule.

It’s not being anti-technology to say that people – especially young people – need to be more conscientious of how much time they spend on social platforms. Putting oneself on a social media diet is the best thing that you can ever do for yourself. Maybe it’s time for an application that measures the worth of social media engagement.

In our hyper-connected social media addicted universe, digital literacy is becoming critically important. Most of us dabble in the social media space without any jot of awareness of how much it takes away from our lives. Something that we can never redeem. By squandering time that we have in the present, we’ll never be able to unearth the opportunities that technology promises. It’s critical to give people, particularly young people, tools and know how to handle social media.

As Benjamin Franklin put it, lost time is never found again. Time is the coin of life and time is what our over-obsession with social media squanders with an insatiable ferocity.

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