How Much is Facebook Worth to You?

How much would you need to be paid to quit facebook?
Photo by Glen Carrie.

Here's an interesting question: how much would you need to get paid to quit Facebook for a year?

Researchers have found that college students demand an average of $2,000 to quit for a year, where non-students want half as much.

I am actually having a hard time answering this question. On one hand, we all know that Facebook is an evil corporation that monetizes our lives (TBH, I am not nearly as bothered as I should be that they make money off my comings and goings - I did hand them over, after all).

They fail constantly fail to protect our data or follow their own policies around security and privacy. More importantly (to me, again, although my priorities are probably mixed up), they host a platform that sucks up my time and attention, often making me feel more anxious, depressed, or just like I need to buy a million new "incredible" wares of Kickstarter.

So that's the bad part of Facebook.

Then there's the good: it's where almost all my friends are gathered. I actually like seeing the updates from their lives. I get a kick out of the funny things their kids say, their photos, and life events. I truly love scrolling through the wedding albums from acquaintances.

Also, it's a really easy place to make plans, have a group chat, get the hive mind to share its wisdom, host an event, or promote something (like, I don't know, a book you wrote).

Besides, I can (and do) hide people or ads that make me feel particularly unpleasant.

So how much money would it take for me to unplug?

Possibly, none. One day I might finally follow the path of so many others, decide that the trade isn't worth it, and unplug. Heck, it only took me about 10 years to decide to be a vegetarian once I became serious about the idea. Maybe 10 years of hemming and hawing before I become a non-Facebook user?

But if someone made a deal with me today, here's what I would take into account:

1) I would actually have to pay someone to do some Facebook things for me because I am using it to promote my book and connect with its audience, and that is real and important.

That means that, for me, there is an actual, hard cost to leaving. Let's say that costs me $400/month. Right there we have $4,800 for a year!

2) The soft cost of the extra time it would take me to keep up with people, make plans, and otherwise stay connected. I am going to estimate that it won't add too much extra time if you subtract the time spent scrolling through the newsfeed (although I don't think that happens too much on Facebook these days).

Still, let's say that it adds 4 hours/month and that my time is worth something more than $0. For now let's say $30/hour, which is $120/month or another $1,440 for the year.

So apparently, my grand total is $6,240.

I'm not going to lie, that is WAY HIGHER than I would have estimated off the top of my head.

What about you? How much is your Facebook account worth to you? Or maybe you would pay to get off it instead/

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