How do you know that social media is folded into the narrative of American life? Perhaps when people are being encouraged to give it up for a religious holiday.
Offlining Inc., a group of Silicon Valley types, is promoting the occasional break from social media and tech devices in general by blasting an ad showing Lindsay Lohan. The message: “You don’t have to be Jewish to make amends for your tweets on Yom Kippur.”
It’s a good idea — we could all use time off from our iPhones, not to mention Twitter, Facebook, et al. But Americans don’t actually spend that much time on social media. Which is good because the reason many people have embraced social media (which would be marketing) is turning out to have a lousy return on investment, if you consider the opportunity cost of time.
Certainly, the numbers of folks using social media is on the rise. Over 100 million people are on Twitter, and more than 500 million on Facebook. People keep guessing which will be the next big one: Foursquare? It’s got over 3 million users. Missed in these numbers is that most of us aren’t heavy users.
Nielsen recently released figures reporting that Americans spend 906 million hours per month on social media. That sounds like a lot, until you consider that there are 240 million of us online. That means Americans are logging less than 4 hours per month on social media, or less than 1 out of the 168 hours we have each week.