What the Time Well Spent movement means for your business
Monday, July 23, 2018
Recently, new research found adolescents who spent more time on digital media were more likely to have ADHD symptoms. While that’s the latest, it’s not the first study to detail the negative effects of digital and social media.
Many, many others have found startlingly similar results.
Most boil down to this: the more time we spend on social media, the worse we feel. Anxiety, depression, isolation, jealousy — these can all be a byproduct of too much time on these platforms.
A handful of those most entrenched in the tech world saw this happening firsthand and strove to do something about it. In 2016, they founded the nonprofit Time Well Spent to combat the digital attention crisis. The group wants to move "away from technology that extracts attention and erodes society, towards technology that protects our minds and replenishes society."
It’s pretty similar to what Mark Zuckerberg wrote in January when he declared a big focus for Facebook was "making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is well spent… We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but good for people’s well-being."
Since January, Facebook has displays fewer posts from brands and publishers in the News Feed, favoring instead content from friends and family.
Now, Facebook’s working on a new feature called "Your Time on Facebook." Essentially, it tracks how many minutes each day and each week you spend on the platform. You can also get a reminder when you’ve spent your daily allotted time on Facebook.
Finally, Facebook is testing a Do Not Disturb mode so that users can turn off notifications for minutes, hours or days.
Instagram, too, is implanting Time Well Spent features. The company is also testing a Do Not Disturb mode. Plus, at the beginning of July, it released an alert that lets you know when you’ve seen all the new posts from the past 48 hours. Hopefully, this will stop people from mindlessly scrolling and confidently close the app.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom tweeted: "We’re building tools that will help the IG community know more about the time they spend on Instagram — any time should be positive and intentional . . . Understanding how time online impacts people is important, and it’s the responsibility of all companies to be honest about this. We want to be part of the solution. I take that responsibility seriously."
With Zuckerberg and Systrom united on this topic, you’ll likely see the two social giants roll out similar features over the next few months.
If people become more conscious of how much time they spend on social, they could cut back. That means they’d spend less time on social, and that limited time would likely be devoted to friends and family.
Where’s that leave your brand?
Well, your content strategy must evolve. If you’re still thinking about what your company wants to talk about, it’s time to reset that. Your pages should be about cultivating and conversing with a community.
Find the glue — the interests and passions — that unites you all. Then, deliver thought-provoking content that makes them laugh or teaches them something.
Ask questions. Engage. And make social media social again.
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