The Bear, My Birthday & Facebook

Between the bear earlier this week and my birthday yesterday, I experienced my own little bit of Facebook fame, garnering more likes, comments and reactions than I’ve ever had.   I’m not too embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed the attention and checked in frequently to see who had commented.

For me, Facebook has become a fun way to connect with high school and college friends, “meet” writers, cyclists, and horse people who share similar interests, and share photos. It reminds me of peoples’ birthdays, invites me to events, and knows my hobbies so well it posts advertisements directed to me— yarn, exercise gear, shoes, and such. I admit I’ve gotten lured into shopping thanks to FB ads, and also have wasted time participating in inane surveys asking me if I can identify movie stars, how many states I’ve visited, whether I can distinguish a specific shade of green, or how much Yiddish I know. And probably tons more.

Then I read James Stewart’s “Common Sense” column in this morning’s New York Times, and sat up a bit straighter.

Fifty minutes. That’s the average amount of time, the company said, that users spend each day on its Facebook, Instagram and Messenger platforms….)”

Whoa. I thought about my own habits. I check my email in the morning and then jump over to FB. I don’t use the other features. I’ll scan a screen page or two, extend birthday wishes if need be, and then proceed with my day. Unless I have posted something, like the bear blog or it was my birthday, I tend to not check it all day long.

Or do I? I’ll pull my phone out while waiting in line at the grocery store. I’ll check my phone upon leaving yoga class. I’ll check when I re-enter the house and then again before going to bed. I don’t keep my phone besides the bed; I still read real books.

50 minutes.

That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours) It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participate in sports or exercise (17 minutes; and nearly as much time as people spend eating and drinking. (1.07 hours).”

I’m not even in the average age group of users, the 18-34 range prized by advertisers. When I was in that age bracket, I was a college student, then working, then raising small children.

What would I be doing with those extra 50 minutes? Writing a great novel or play? Mastering a new sport? Taking up a new hobby? I worry that I’d probably still be on-line—browsing, shopping, chatting, emailing.

I was off the grid briefly in April when we were hiking in Arizona.  and didn’t miss the constant need to check in, report my status, or tag my friends.

Yet, this entire social media is here to stay. The challenge is to monitor one’s use.

I hope to start by cutting 50 minutes at least in half.

What about you? Do you suffer from Internet Addiction Disorder?


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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6 Responses to The Bear, My Birthday & Facebook

  1. I don’t view this issue as a problem. What did your mother do with her time that you don’t do? Was her time more wisely spent than yours is? Not Mine!
    I love being in touch with a wider group of people around the world,
    Even if I will never meet them in person. They are friends and I learn about lives I would never known before the wonderful world of blogging.


  2. It’s the time that’s the issue, not the media itself. I find I can easily get caught up in watching videos, doing surveys, browsing, etc. Of course, blogging is different– I’ve made many friends via blogging- like you! And others. Though I tend not to read/browse blog sites as much– perhaps I should?


  3. It’s all a matter of perspective, I think, Lisa. I may spend 50 minutes with Facebook, catching up – which may be subtracted from my 2.8 hours TV viewing, or WordPress, reading – which might count as more than 19 minutes reading in the end. 😉

    Happy late Birthday Lisa, I hope you got to spend it with all the people you love. ❤
    Diana xo


  4. In a word, yes! My husband is jealous of my iPhone time, so I keep it at bay when I’m with him. But that ding might mean a picture of the grandbabies. Those notifications remind me of a life off this mountain. Yes, my name is Chris, and I’m a social media addict!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Funny. My husband is on his phone constantly– he reads on it, checks sports, weather, news, etc. I hate that it’s his “in-bed” reading and I have to listen to those pings… at least turning pages doesn’t make noise.

    Liked by 1 person

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