Talking Your Tech: Are you hooked on Facebook?
— -- Are you hooked on Facebook? The social network, some 800 million people strong, is taking up more and more of our time as we log in to see what our friends are doing, listening to and watching.
Despite some backlash from members in recent weeks over design and style changes, hundreds of millions of people use the site every day, for hours and hours.
According to Facebook, over 400 million people log into the network on any given day. And average usage has grown to 6.3 hours monthly this year, up from 4.6 hours monthly in 2010, according to a recent comScore study.
Most of the folks we spoke to spend much more time Facebooking: from two to four hours daily. Most happily admit their addiction but don't see it as a problem, yet. Just another way to kill time.
Could you give it up? We posed that question and got varied answers. Here's a sampling. You can drop your own thoughts in the comments section below:
Hours a day but under control, so they say!
•Sporting an "I'm Addicted" T-shirt (a coincidence: the Hermosa Beach Froyo Life yogurt shop where she works supplies it, in reference to its product) Raven Jones, 21, a Los Angeles area student, says she checks Facebook first thing every morning. "I've cut down from four hours a day to two," she says. "But I couldn't go without it. I like to be informed of what my friends are doing."
•"I'm 48, and not their target audience, but I'm on it every day, for at least four hours," says Andrew Parks, an actor from New Jersey. "It's like a cellphone. You know how you feel like you don't have your hand if you don't have your cellphone? It's the same thing with Facebook."
•In between posing for pictures dressed as Marilyn Monroe on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, actress Krista Armstrong runs to her smartphone and posts updates to her Facebook page. "I'm addicted," she says. "I like to keep in touch with my friends all over the world."
•During a recent two-day visit to Hollywood from Chicago, tourist Nicholas Donarski posted 15 updates, mostly photos. He told us he couldn't imagine traveling any other way. "It's a great way to connect with everyone."
Out of control?
"I should be spending my time hanging out with my roommates, chatting with my parents, or better yet, reading," writes Stacy Amstadt, a student at the University of Minnesota, in an e-mail to USA TODAY. "Instead, I waste my time, reading people's pointless wall posts, browsing people's pictures and essentially 'creeping' on their lives.
…I feel guilty because I end up wasting so much time on Facebook…Facebook has done wonders for our society, but has it gone too far?"
Can live without it
"I see all these people on Facebook, and wonder where we'll be in 10 years," says Keith Peterson of Los Angeles. "If everyone's spending their time on Facebook, they're not doing productive things in life, like exercise and health."
Next Friday on Talking Your Tech: QR codes, use 'em or lose 'em? Those bar code-like images that can be scanned with your smartphone are popping up everywhere. Share your thoughts about them for a chance to be featured on USA TODAY.
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Coming Monday on Talking Your Tech: Former boxer Mike Tyson talks about his passion for researching history topics on Google, and shows us what's on his iPod.
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