How infected are you? TIME tool shows how much time you have wasted on Facebook

Regardless of whether you feel Facebook exhibits disease-like characteristics or not, one thing is for sure -- it can certainly turn into a time-sucker. There's a reason Mark Zuckerberg's social network is blocked in many workplaces you know! Just like many people "underestimate" how much alcohol they drink, particularly when speaking to a doctor ("Oh, not much... just a beer twice a year, doc!") many Facebook users are likely to be surprised -- or perhaps scared -- by just how much time they spend using the site.

If you've ever been curious, but haven’t bothered to sit with a stopwatch every time you log on, a new tool from TIME magazine could be what you've been looking for. The how-much-bloody-time-have-I-really-wasted-reading-other-people's-pointless-crap calculator has been created ahead of Facebook's tenth anniversary. It's on 4 February if you were thinking about getting a card and present, by the way.

To use the tool you will need to grant it access to your account in order for your timeline to be analyzed, but TIME does promise that nothing will be posted on your behalf. You do have to do a little work to get started. You're asked to estimate how much time you spend on Facebook each day. As a helpful guide, the average user spends 17 minutes per day on the site. Try to be honest... probably best to add a little to the first number you think of.

The calculator will then beaver away, count the number of posts you have made and determine how long you have been a member before presenting you with that all-important number. In case you're interested, it turns out that I have been using Facebook since 5 July 2007 (a little over two thirds of its life) and I've posted 3,593 things to my timeline. By TIME's estimation -- and my guess that I probably spent 30 minutes on the site each day -- this means I have "wasted" 49 days, 23 hours and 36 minutes on Facebook. O. M. F. G.

How does it work? It's not clear just how accurate the estimates are, but TIME explains a little: "This app runs through the timestamps on every post in your feed until it reaches the earliest one, which it uses as the estimated date that you created your profile. Users who are extraordinarily active on the site may get an estimate that is considerably later than the actual date that they joined."

How much of your life have you given over to the site? Try out the tool and share your results below -- assuming you're not too embarrassed!

Image Credit: Luis Louro / Shutterstock

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