Social media addiction has been an increasingly debated topic of late. The very nature of social media applications, it has been said, is designed to be addictive. In what is referred to as a positive feedback loop, users are encouraged to spend as much time receiving and sharing posts as possible, for nothing more than the input of being rewarded with “likes.”
Just how bad so called social media addiction is, or how serious it can be, is an ongoing discussion. But, seemingly to counteract recent negative research, Facebook and Instagram are introducing time management tools. With these tools, users will now be able to clearly monitor time spent interacting with the application, and even set limits to avoid more than a certain amount of time being exceeded.
It should be kept in mind that the tools are built into the apps, and operate exclusively with the software. So there will be no using your Facebook time management tool to monitor the time spent playing at the best online casinos, or the amount of time you spend chatting on WhatsApp!
Your Time On Social Media
“Your Time On Facebook” is the name of the Facebook time management tool, while “Your Activity” is the same tool within Instagram. Both features will be free to all users, and added seamlessly in an update. Interestingly, it has been revealed that the updates will be global for 1% per cent of all users, at least for a limited time until it is rolled out to all users.
The reason for this being that the companies want a test group that can be compared in order to monitor results, and determine just how effective the management tools are. A bold move, which will certainly result in some important information. Given that the features are, of course, completely reliant on users monitoring themselves, just how rigorously people implement time limits on their own social media interaction will be fascinating.
Using The Tools
Once the updates have been installed, tapping the menu button in the bottom right of Facebook, and scrolling down will reveal the new feature. In Instagram, the feature is found in the settings menu, which is accessed via tapping the cog icon.
Upon opening the time management features, the level of detail granted is certainly highly extensive. Both the Facebook and Instagram versions display graphs that detail activity within the applications, over a seven-day period. Tapping each of the individual days will give further, more comprehensive information.
Furthermore, it is within these menus that a user can set a desired limit on time. Once the limit has been reached, a notification will be displayed, gently reminding the user. Of course, browsing can continue regardless.
Both Google and Apple, last year, introduced features to their operating systems, informing users of the iOS and Android operating systems of how much time they were spending interacting with their devices. This was followed by research released in December last year, with massive criticism levelled at social media companies. Research found that social media companies aggressively seek the attention of users, not only disrupting daily routines, but also encouraging what could be described as addictive behaviour.
These new time management tools are clearly an answer to that criticism, although just how effective the tools will be is largely up for debate. Either way, the information and power has now been put in the hands of the users. Just how much of an effect the new features will have remains to be seen, but at the very least, there can no longer be the excuse that social media enthusiasts simply couldn’t keep track of how long they had their noses in their phones.