High technology, and especially the global Internet, have transformed our lives since its introduction in the late 20th century. Now we are more and more interconnected with friends and strangers across the world at the click of a mouse or tap of a cell phone screen. In particular, the startup-turned-giant Facebook
The New York Times article "Facebook Has 50 Minutes of Your Time Each Day. It Wants More." states that Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said that the average person spent 50 minute a day on its Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger services. That is more than one-sixteenth of a person's waking time. The article states that some part of that figure can be attributed to a rise in social media use with younger people such as the Millennial generation, replacing traditional leisure activities like reading. According to The New York Times article "Facebook Has Put A Spell on You," 50 minutes a day is more than the average time for exercise, and almost equal to average time spent drinking and eating. The author warns that Facebook addicts could well be helping Facebook to the detriment of their own health.
How has Facebook managed to reach this milestone and become anchored to our lives? Today, there are over two million active advertisers on Facebook. More users also leads to more users in a snowball effect, as users pressure friends and family members not on Facebook to create accounts and become connected. In addition, as globalism and capitalism have helped alleviate much poverty across the world in the last century, millions of people in developing countries are discovering and using the Internet through starter laptops and cell phones. On many devices, Facebook is one of the most prominent and easy-to-use apps available. It is a primary way for many citizens of developing countries to stay connected, make business contacts, and read content during leisure time.
Facebook has some plans to capture even more of our time, as it generates revenue mainly from advertising. As more and more people, over a billion active users, use Facebook, more and more advertisers start advertising on the website. It was to improvement targeted advertising, which involves using user data to generate a more personalized, tailored News Feed based on things like the time users spend on reading posts and watching videos. Also, the addition of new features such as Live Video, real-time video posts from ordinary people and public figures, might help take up more of our daily time. After the revelation that Facebook suppressed conservative news, it is also reaching out to Republicans and the conservative community, according to Mark Zuckerberg's May 18 post, in order to remain a platform for all ideas. The company will surely come up with more changes to improve the user experience on social media, so people spend even more time on Facebook.
The author does not hold any positions in any of the stocks above.