Is Our Idle Time Advancing?

Is Our Idle Time Advancing?

Many people in the United States purchase one or fewer books every year. Many of those people have seen every single episode of American Idol. There is clearly a correlation here.

-Seth Godin

I was shocked to read yesterday that, last month, users spent 927,000,000 hours (over 400,000 man years!) playing Facebook games.  I wasn’t going to comment on it, but then I read Seth Godin’s rant this morning about TV, the quote above is from it.  The two together made me wonder which is the lesser intellectual evil, TV or Farmville.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think either of them is a book or even a blog or even Twitter or even regular Facebook or even playing Civilization.  The question is, which one is worse.

I’ve gotta believe in general (obviously it depends on the game or TV show) that Facebook gaming is better then television from an intellectual engagement perspective.  If that’s the case, I wonder how much it raises the average productive output of the US or intellegence level of the US to be playing social games instead of watching television.  On the negative side, I am concerned with how pervasive Facebook games can become; taking hours away from work because of its presence on our work computers and smart phones.

What do you guys thing?