How much time do you waste online?

Thanks to Forbes (and Megan for forwarding me this article), today I discovered Not Working, one Brit's solution to social networking addiction. The simple gadget tallies up the time you spend at work, but not working, and the associated $ value lost to your company. I'm not sure how I feel about this for a few reasons:

1. Time spent online is not necessarily wasted. Social networking, used properly, can increase one's long-term value by exposing them to new people, opportunities and ideas and deepening their ties to others. I firmly believe these activities add substantial value to one's self- and employers.

2. Productivity is factored into one's wage, especially if a salaried employee. And if employees stop "wasting" this time, will employers fairly compensate them for the added value? Perhaps a better interpretation is that the user's "wasted" time valuation is the value they assign to their free time and long-term investment in social networking. I see an enterprise app developing from this that can help companies price overtime packages and set productivity-driven bonuses...

3. You could be working during hours otherwise spent online, but should you? Is the end goal of life to be a workaholic who spends every possible moment producing?

In short, this tool has some built-in moral assumptions I'm not sure I buy, but I am curious about it's practicality in helping to enforce discipline during times the user deems it necessary. So I'll test it out and report back.


Derek Sorensen said...

Hi, I'm the guy who wrote "notworking" - thanks for the mention :).

Notworking is really aimed at people who are self-employed rather than employees (although that isn't to say it might not be useful for anyone who feels it might be useful). I realised that a lot of self-employed people use Social Networking sites as part of their "marketing" strategy, and eventually come to think of it as part of their work. However, such sites are extremely addictive and often people find themselves drawn in to conversations on forums to the detriment to their business.

The "notworking" app, simple as it is, just gives a gentle reminder that they need to do some actual work as well.

dpm said...

Thanks for commenting, Derek! So another way to think about it is that people can measure the time they spend on specific sites and figure out how much they'd have to earn from it to justify the investment of their time?