Welcome to the age of meaningful social. That’s right, you heard me! ICYMI, Facebook and Instagram recently rolled out a time management tool. Say what? The social channel announced on the Facebook Newsroom that they aren’t fans of mindless scrolling on the apps: “We want the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram to be intentional, positive, and inspiring. Our hope is that these tools give people more control over the time they spend on our platforms and also foster conversations between parents and teens about the online habits that are right for them.” And that’s not all, folks – in addition to viewing your activity spent on the platform, you can also set a reminder on your phone to lay off when you’ve spent a certain amount of time on either app. While this seems like the next natural, non-polarizing step for the two biggest social channels out there, I can’t help but think “Stop micromanaging me! I love falling asleep stalking Instagram influencers and watching In My Feelings videos until my eyeballs bleed!” In all seriousness though, this feature is a smooth move that puts time management on Facebook and Instagram back in our hands. After all, adults aged 18-35 spend an average of 6 hours on social media each week. But wait, you say. Doesn’t this move seem like it’ll hurt Facebook and Instagram in some way? After all, I would expect that these two platforms would want us to get sucked into the black hole of eternal scrolling. Here’s the thing – no one really loses with this new feature. Just because we know how many hours we’re wasting, doesn’t mean all user habits will change A$AP Rocky, and Facebook and Instagram get a pat on the back for being more transparent. I don’t stay up at night haunted by the number of hours that I’ll never get back. That was all on me, and now that I know I have the option to see just how much time I spend, I have no one to blame for my mindless scrolling but myself. (Which is how it should be). In an ideal world, user awareness means user control. With the rollout of this new tool, we now have the option of being more mindful of the time we spend. Personally, I don’t know if I’ll change my social media consumption habits, but awareness is the first step.
Interested in seeing your social media activity firsthand? On Facebook, go to Settings & Privacy and hit “Your Time on Facebook.” It’ll have a blue bar for every day of the week, and you can tap to see the breakdown for the week thus far. For Instagram, head over to Settings and click on Your Activity. It’ll give you the daily average for the week with the same bar graph format as Facebook. Keep in mind that not all users will have this tool at the moment, as Facebook said the full rollout will be finished in the next few weeks.