Three Times More Time Spent Facebooking Than Googling: Are We Wasting Time?

A new survey by Nielsen examined the habits of Net users in August, and turned up a fascinating statistic: People spent three times more on Facebook than Google. Is this significant, or indicative we're all a bunch of time-wasters?

Adam Ostrow's post over at Mashable examines Nielsen's data, shown in the table below, and notes that the trend for time spent on Facebook is rising: In July they reported 4 hours 39 minutes was the average Facebook visit, versus 5 hours 46 minutes in August.

Nielsen Data

This stat places Facebook at the top of the table for hours spent visiting the service, even as the social networking site sits at the number four slot on the list for unique audience visits—just shy of 104 million people visited Facebook in August compared to Google's 150 million. Somewhat amazingly YouTube's 95 million visitors only spent an average of 1:17:20 on the site—and it's a site famous for being a paramount time-waster. Ostrow notes this statistic as a significant boon for Facebook, as though Google's trying to expand in all sorts of directions it's not successfully tapping the social networking vein.

But is this actually the case? Think about it for a minute: Google's job is to be a portal to other Web sites. Once you've performed the mundane search query entry you, as a Google search user, are keen to be furnished with a relevant link fast, and then you'll leave Google and go off and do something less boring instead. If you're talking about Google Maps or Gmail, however, I suspect you'll be spending much more time tinkering around with pages served up by Google itself—quite possibly even surpassing Facebook in total time spent per month. It's just that the visitor numbers don't place Google Maps or Gmail on this same list as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and all the others surveyed. Let's not forget that YouTube is also a Google property—adding its average visit time to Google's main figure nets some 3 hours and 10 minutes of visitor time, pacing Google not so far behind Facebook.

This debate is all about money, of course: The greater the face time you devote to a site, the more ads that can be served up. And yes, these stats could indicate we're all becoming serial time-wasters, if you imagine that all one does on Facebook is trivial. But is keeping in touch with friends, or using it for professional networking trivial? I'm not sure. Facebook is also definitely doing a good job of keeping its users on the page for longer...but I don't think the chaps at Google will be even slightly concerned by these stats—they're still getting nearly 150% more visitors than Facebook.

[via Mashable]

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  • John Agno

    Yes, here in the U.S., we are becoming "a bunch of time-wasters."

    Complacency is rampant. Last week, I traveled to Upstate New York from Ann Arbor, MI via Canada. While on the NYS Thruway, I stopped to get fuel at a Sunoco service center.

    After spending $30+ to fill the gas tank, I went to wash the bug marks off the car's windshield---but all four of the gas station's wash basins were bone dry....and....only two of the four had the long-handled washer/scrubbers. I asked the attendant 'why?'

    In a surprised voice he said, "Oh! I didn't know they were empty." And he took an empty bucket and walked to a place where he could draw water to refill the wash basins.

    Bottom line: those wash basins had been empty for hours, if not days, while this attendant sat reading a book or whatever. Complacency is much more common than we think. Employee and manager complacency is a huge problem here in the U.S. and will result in crumbling business for those companies that allow it to spread. People gravitate toward doing whatever alleviates their anxieties and worries, and they will go to great lengths to avoid discomfort.

    Often, complacency is invisible to managers and leaders, as well as the employees in its grip. You, too, may be complacent and not even realize it. That’s because success produces complacency and, for peace of mind, we often focus on success instead of our failures or gaps.

    This problem is augmented by our tendency to replace a true sense of urgency and purpose with frantic activity and unfocused anxiety—what we call a false or misguided urgency.

    Continue reading "Complacency is Rampant" at