Facebook, in its ever evolving need to placate everyone, has implemented a service to help busy Facebook users better manage their time. You may have noticed that under each article or video, Facebook has added a handy dandy estimate of how much time it will take their oh-so-busy users to read an article.
I won’t even touch on the fact that many Facebook users don’t (or can’t) read an informative article to begin with.
I will even ignore the fact that I can read a 300-word piece in well under 5 minutes, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg.
Let’s cut right to the chase, shall we? If you are on Facebook for the twentieth fiftieth gazillionth time today, explain to me exactly what tight, rigorous schedule you are on that prevents you from choosing to read a five-minute article?
“Wow, teens exploring a wooded area next to the local mall downtown discovered a live wooly mammoth family today in New Hampshire! Oh wait, it’s a 5-minute read!? Who the hell has time for that??” *Keeps scrolling* … “Coke adds the name Adonis to its line of labeled bottles and cans … 2-minute read. All right! Now, that’s the kind of timeframe I can get behind! Let me at this one!”
If it takes you more than five minutes to read the article, can you sue for lost time and damages? Does that five-minute read include pictures and captions? Really, Facebook, I have so many questions!
I suppose you could time your Farmville crops to article lengths and give yourself something to do while the crops ripen. “This one will take exactly one corn harvest.” “Oh, man, I’ll never get to harvest those yams in time if I read this one, forget it. Who cares about the newly discovered pyramid on Mars, anyway? Those crops are waiting!”
Now, what happens if I choose to invest my time in, say, a five-minute article and it only takes me three minutes to read? I have two extra unplanned minutes in my day. I could:
- Post a vague, slightly disturbing update in the hopes it will gain attention from my friends.
- Read someone’s political beliefs and become angry … not by the post, but by all the comments under it (although I may not have time to post a reply to any of the more egregious statements).
- Share eight lost dog posts or three Minions memes.
- Place four posts that I will never look at again in my “saved” folder.
- Like three posts by accident when swiping up. These will include a friend’s dad’s funeral, someone who broke both legs falling down a flight of steps, and someone’s cat being run over by a bus.
- Type out a well thought out rebuttal to someone’s post, then spend the next two and a half minutes trying to figure out how to delete it while frantically realizing that I am now over my allotted time limit.
- Accidentally click on an ad for hemorrhoid cream and watch my page fill with ads for hemorrhoid creams.
- Try to understand why a video about cake icing has been “covered because it may contain gore.” Uncover it. Watch in amazement as someone falls into a vat of frosting and is iced.
- Wish happy birthday to three “friends” I have never met in my life.
- Search for a two-minute article. Find it, then realize it has taken me two minutes to find so I don’t actually have time to read it.
Years from now we’ll be telling our grandchildren, “In my day, we had phones that plugged into the wall, TV sets without remotes, and we never knew how long it would take to read an article on Facebook!”
So, my followers and friends…what will YOU do with all of your extra time?