What's New With Media

Emerging media effects on integrated marketing communication

Beyond the Social of Social Media



I remember back in 2007 when I gave in to peer pressure and created my Facebook account. I had a year left of college and as my group of friends started to graduate and move on, it quickly became a great way to stay in touch and be connected with both friends and family.

In the beginning I might get on Facebook once every few days at the most. Fast forward to today and the thought of not being on Facebook a few times a week is unimaginable. I’m on it several times a day, including first thing when I wake up and it’s the last thing I check before going to bed. Do I consider myself addicted? Absolutely not. Am I so obsessed with what my friends and family are doing that I can’t step away from living vicariously via their digital lives? Maybe (just kidding).

While there are other social media networks that I’m a part of, Facebook has moved beyond the social for me. Facebook has become an all-in-one stop shop. I can connect with people who have common interests, sign a petition, view recipes, watch videos, shop, and follow any and all news – including local news. I live in a small town and have come to rely on the “What’s Happening” pages of the community since we have no official TV station and the local newspaper runs almost two days behind.

And I’m not alone in realizing that social media is moving beyond the social. According to a recent article in Business Insider:

Social platforms have become the new leaders in the digital media industry, evolving well past their beginnings as digital communication networks and becoming full-fledged media distribution channels and entertainment centers…Nearly 20% of total time spent online in the U.S. across both desktop and mobile devices is on social platforms. Facebook alone, makes up 14% of total time spent online.

bii global social mau 2016

We can actually put a meaningful number to that 14% statistic. According to Facebook’s first quarter results for 2016 states that users spend 50 minutes a day on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger (all of which are owned by Facebook). An article in The New York Times goes even further to put this into perspective:

There are only 24 hours in a day, and the average person sleeps for 8.8 of them. That means more than one-sixteenth of the average user’s waking time is spent on Facebook.

The averages time that users spend on Facebook is nearing an hour. That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours). It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participating in sports or exercise (17 minutes); or social events (four minutes). It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours).

So, next time you get on Facebook, pay attention to how you use the platform. Are you keeping it purely social or just barely social? Should it still be considered a leisure activity if we are using it for data needed to navigate not just our daily lives, but our communities as well?





4 thoughts on “Beyond the Social of Social Media

  1. These are very interesting findings! Personally, I am not a big fan of using Facebook. A few months back I tried to delete my Facebook account, because I never use it. Within two hours my aunt messaged my mom to ask why I blocked her (which is why I’m not a big fan of Facebook). A couple of days later I realized that Facebook played a larger roll in my life than I thought. I am a person of convenience, and I am very impatient. Due to the popularity of Facebook many websites and companies allow users to “sign-up with Facebook”, and by deleting my account I was missing out on one of the most convenient online services available to me. It didn’t take long for me to reactivate my account, even though I still don’t use Facebook for social purposes.

    On another note, I think as I get older Facebook will hold more value. My mom loves it, because she can connect with people she hasn’t seen since high school. At this time I don’t feel a void from old friendships, but perhaps one day I will. I know Facebook will be there when I need it. It’s integration into our lives will only grow as long as it can keep up with the change of culture!



  2. Hey Susan!

    Another great feature that Facebook offers is Facebook Live that offers users to stream videos live on their phones, tablets or computers wherever they are in the world and allows you to interact with viewers in real time. Tastemade is one of my favorite Facebook pages that show short and easy recipes with various foods. They’ve created a weekly live show (click here to view their Live Latte Art video – https://www.facebook.com/tastemade/videos/1013356685418165/) called #FoodArtFridays at their Tastemade Studios. These videos help keep viewers engaged in the brand and it also keeps them interested in discovering what you will come up with next! I’m interested in seeing what other brands can come up with in the future. Have you noticed any companies/businesses using Facebook Live in their marketing strategy?

    Whenever I log into Facebook, it’s usually during my break and it gives me an opportunity to see what’s going on in the world that I might have missed, and I also get a chance to be nosey and see what my friends and family are up to. I don’t usually say much on Facebook either (not sure when I’ve made any recent posts except to tell someone happy birthday), but I like to keep my Facebook to stay social. I do the same with my Snapchat and Twitter as well where I don’t use it as often as most people do but I like to keep them just to stay social.


  3. Very interesting post. Facebook has a bit of that Pac-Man mentality of acquiring the competition–or copying what the competition does. My boyfriend worked for Facebook two years ago on a project that was an “ultra secret” new application they were working on. Well, it was a copy of Snapchat called Slingshot. It really never took off, but it is still there. Facebook continues to impress in the way that it keeps its users engaged. I believe it’s not going to change anytime soon, Facebook still rules these days.


  4. Every time I see the breakdown of time spent on social media I think of how I manage my time on social channels. Most times outside of work if I log onto social media it’s to see what people are doing or past time. Over the past couple years Facebook has become a uninteresting platform to me, it once was a place to update my status and connect with friends and now it is full of my family members. My grandparents, who are 65+, use Facebook more than I do. It has been interesting to see how the platform has shifted from college hangout to family friendly atmosphere.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s