Facebook's status: not a waste of time
Published: Sunday, January 9, 2011
Updated: Sunday, January 9, 2011 20:01
The last thing I wanted to read about on my flight home after winter break was Facebook.
I really wanted to read some normal articles and fall asleep, if that's even possible when you're sitting in the last row of a 747.
The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri made sure that wasn't possible for me when she decided to chime in on Facebook's newest accomplishment.
On New Year's Eve, Reuters reported that Facebook overtook Google as the Web's most visited site. Of all of the Internet traffic that goes through the U.S., Facebook had taken a solid 8.9 percent.
Petri said that she "wanted to have a word with us," and then went on to list numerous reasons for this change being a massive social problem.
Apparently, there are only eight possibilities for what we might be doing on Facebook, according to Petri. These range from posting irrelevant statuses to "poking" someone, which she thinks is pretty creepy.
She then gives a list of what people might be doing if they're searching for things via Google. All of a sudden, the list becomes more academic.
Apparently, people only enter queries into Google related to interesting, educational and relevant things that make people well rounded.
I sat there, in between two people in the rearmost seats, reading this column and smirking. I was now that awkward passenger who looked like he was smiling for no reason.
Why? Because Ms. Petri was hilariously wrong.
Do people legitimately think that Google is a tool for nothing but knowledge and research, whereas Facebook is a complete waste of time? Probably not, but I think it's safe to say that both websites can be used to waste time.
Let's go to Google Trends, which lists the most popular searches for any given day of the year:
On Dec. 1, 2010, the fourth-most searched item was "jeggings." Going more in depth, Google considers this search item's rating to be "volcanic."
On Dec. 31, the ninth-most searched item was, "is hank green awesome."
Are you kidding me? Did anyone bother to think logically before assuming that Facebook was a tool for wasting time?
Mark Zuckerberg was made TIME's person of the year not because he created a website that people spend time on but because he helped unify half a billion people.
People converse with their friends, get into heated political debate and keep connections open with people who they thought they'd never see again.
How is it at all surprising that a social website, not a search engine, took hold of the No. 1 spot in 2010?
I can understand Petri's viewpoint that Facebook can affect a person's productivity, but so can leaning over your desk and talking to the person next to you.
That's why they're called friends, regardless of whether they're thousands of miles away or sitting right next to you.
Google is important; it provides a way to search nearly all Web pages on the Internet, but that doesn't mean that people can't waste time on it. The same goes for Facebook.
It's ignorant to insinuate that the Facebook generation is full of time wasters and that we need to get our priorities straight by searching more often on Google.