Time Sinks, Or Why I Don’t Use Facebook

Photo by aprillynn77I live near a city park, where neighborhood children and their mothers gather in the afternoons. Most of the mothers don’t work outside the home, and they gather for non-child interaction. Recently the conversation turned to Facebook, and how wonderful it was to communicate with others (including with the other women having the conversation). One mother turned to me and asked for my Facebook information. When I told her I don’t use Facebook, her face took on an expression similar to those you see worn by people about to change a diaper.

“Why?” Several women asked the question at the same time.

Definition of a Time Sink

In electronics, devices called heat sinks are used to pull heat away from sensitive components. Their job is simply to collect the excess heat and disperse it.

Likewise, a time sink is anything that collects excess time and disperses it. Dictionary.com lists time sink as “a project that consumes unbounded amounts of time.”

Good Ol’ ROI

To me it all boils down to Return On Investment (ROI). In order to maximize the enjoyment and results of my time, I have to be very careful how I invest it. Reading provides a lot of recreation for me, but certain types of books do not hold my interest, and so provide little in the way of positive experience. Some activities are a good way to fill time, but I do not particularly enjoy them. And if I’m not enjoying what what I voluntarily do, why do it?

This is where Facebook comes in. To me, Facebook is a time sink.

Why I Don’t Use Facebook

While I do engage in many online activities (such as blogging), getting linked up to people I haven’t seen in years or people I have seen in the last few hours holds little value for my time investment. Does it help my life to know that my neighbor’s favorite movie of all time is “Gone with the Wind”? Does it provide any positive value to my current life knowing what a person I haven’t spoken to since high school has listened to recently?

I’m not knocking Facebook users with this. I’m just saying that for me, Facebook is a time sink.

Photo by aprillynn77


  1. Tricia says

    I completely agree. I feel like I kind of got bullied by my friends to join FB and now that I’m on it, I don’t really “get it”. It’s really superficial and it seems the only real benefit is that I get to see pictures that people have posted of themselves and their kids. Otherwise, it just seems like a big waste of time.

    At least with blog posts, there’s a possibility for a little bit more depth and for many people, blogging is more about online journal keeping that anything else.

    Facebook? Meh.

    • LJ says

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that doesn’t get Facebook. I really debated posting the article, because I thought I was being some sort of Luddite.

      As far as pics and stuff, we have a family blog that serves this purpose. The family all get notified of updates through email, so they don’t have to remember to check for updates.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Alice says

    I have to confess, I don’t like facebook but since I’ve been working with tech stuff I need to use it, it has been very useful to present new skills and promote projects. I have the same feeling everytime I write http://www.fac…, sinking, sinking, sinking…

    • LJ says

      I’m sure there must be a good use for it out there, like the one you gave. I don’t have to use it, so I safely stay out of the arena. I’m even more grateful now…since I wrote the article there’s been a new use for Facebook around the neighborhood: apparently the good ladies are using it to criticize everyone’s landscaping. I think perhaps some people have too much time on their hands…