In an era dominated by technology and connectivity, our daily interactions with social media platforms have become ubiquitous. Yet, do we truly understand the extent to which these digital engagements shape our lives? This project seeks to shed light on the profound impact of social media on individuals' daily routines, and more importantly, on the trajectory of their lives.
The Core Idea
We often underestimate the cumulative time spent on social media, perceiving it as a series of brief moments throughout the day. However, the data tells a different story. Through meticulous data analysis and compelling visualizations, this project will reveal the startling truth: the average person spends a significant portion of their life on social media.
Visualizing the Trends
By examining social media usage patterns and trends, this project will provide a detailed insight into how our daily scrolling, posting, and chatting activities add up over the years. We will chart the trajectory of social media usage from its inception, demonstrating how it has grown to become a constant presence in our lives.
Comparing Life's Investments
To provide context, this project will compare the years spent on social media with other pivotal life activities. For instance, consider this startling revelation: five years on social media is equivalent to the time spent pursuing a college education. By drawing these comparisons, we aim to prompt reflection on the choices we make in our digital lives.
Ultimately, this project seeks to raise awareness. It's not about shunning social media, but rather encouraging individuals to be mindful of their digital choices. By understanding the long-term implications of their social media habits, people can make informed decisions about how they allocate their precious time and attention.
Based on Good Charts (1), I've structured this project into three distinct phases: Setup, Conflict, and Resolution.
Each phase plays a vital role in unraveling the story of our digital lives.
1: Berinato, S. (2016). Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations. Harvard Business Review Press.
Understanding the Digital Landscape
In this initial phase, I aim to establish a comprehensive view of the digital world. The goal is to create a baseline understanding of how social media has become an integral part of our lives.
I will kickstart the project by presenting compelling data visualizations that offer insights into the global population's social media usage. These visuals will showcase which platforms are most popular, the age groups that dominate these platforms, and the extent to which social media has become a fundamental part of our daily routines.
To engage you right from the start, I'll pose a critical question: "How much time do you think you spend on social media daily?" This question serves as the foundation for the journey that lies ahead.
Unveiling the deeper secrets of social media usage
Here, I'll unveil the conflict at the heart of our digital lives—the deceptive nature of time spent on social media. Here, we delve into the core of our analysis, using data to unravel the astonishing reality.
I'll present data visualizations that break down social media usage on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. These visuals will showcase the sheer amount of time individuals allocate to scrolling, liking, and sharing, painting a vivid picture of how these minutes add up.
To intensify the conflict, I'll draw comparisons. I'll juxtapose the lifetime hours spent on social media with other significant life events. Imagine, spending five years on social media—a period equivalent to a college education or the time spent with parents.
In this final phase of the project, I'll pivot towards resolution. Now, aware of the knowledge of our digital habits, I'll be suggesting practical strategies for mindful social media use.
Effective Time Management
I'll advocate for a resolution to make every scroll count. By emphasizing effective time management techniques, I'll encourage the audience to use social media as a tool for growth, learning, and meaningful connections rather than a mindless time sink.
The Call to Action
As I conclude, I'll leave with a call to action. I'll challenge the audience to reflect on their digital choices and make conscious decisions about how they spend their time on social media.
Visualizations to help build a baseline understanding of the world population and the proportions of it using social media actively.
This section can include two visualizations - the first around the proportions of the world population engaged in social media, and the second around how this population is split amongst different social media platforms.
Conflict & Resolution
Visualizations to gain perspectives into the daily, monthly, yearly, and lifelong time spent by an average user on social media platforms and compare them with other facets of life.
This section can include multiple data visualizations. first set to show the time scale of social media usage and the second set to draw comparisons between time spent on social media vs. others.
The resolution would be leaning more on the behavioral psychology part and would be around suggestive measures - scope to discuss possible data visualizations that could supplement the suggestions.
For my project, I will be utilizing data from a variety of reputable sources to ensure a comprehensive and well-informed analysis.
Digital 2023 July Global Statshot Report
One of the primary sources I will rely on is the "Digital 2023 July Global Statshot Report" provided by datareportal.com. This report offers a wealth of valuable insights into global digital trends and user behaviors. By incorporating the data from this report, I aim to gain a deep understanding of the latest developments in the digital landscape, including internet usage, social media trends, and mobile device adoption. This data will serve as a foundation for assessing the digital environment's impact on various aspects of my project, providing up-to-date statistics and benchmarks.
American Time Use Survey 2023
In addition to the datareportal.com report, I will draw on information from the American Time Use Survey published by the U.S. Department of Labor. This survey provides detailed data on how individuals in the United States allocate their time across various activities, including work, leisure, and daily routines. By incorporating this data, I intend to analyze time allocation patterns and their implications for my project. It will help me understand how people's daily routines and time management may influence certain behaviors or trends related to my research topic.
The above two sources, along with others such as GWI, Statista, We are Social, and Meltwater will collectively provide a robust foundation for my project, enabling me to draw meaningful conclusions and make informed recommendations based on a well-rounded dataset.
Method and Medium
Tableau + Flourish + Figma
I will employ a combination of data visualization tools to create informative and engaging static graphics. For crafting visually appealing and data-rich graphics, I will harness the capabilities of Tableau and Figma. Tableau will be instrumental in the creation of static visualizations, offering a user-friendly platform to generate charts, graphs, and other data representations. I will then import these visuals into Figma, where I will apply graphical edits to enhance their clarity and aesthetic appeal. Moreover, Figma's animation tools will be employed to infuse interactivity into select data visualizations, ensuring a dynamic and immersive user experience.
Figma for deck design and presentation
When it comes to the presentation of my project, I will adopt an end-to-end approach within the Figma ecosystem. Not only will I design the project deck within Figma, but I will also utilize Figma as the medium for delivering the presentation. Figma's collaborative features and versatility make it an ideal choice for creating visually captivating presentations that effectively convey my project's findings and insights. For the documentation and dissemination of the final project, I will leverage my personal website, following the same approach I have used for my previous projects.
Not sure of Shorthand at this point
However, I will also explore the potential benefits of using Shorthand as an alternative platform for storytelling and presenting the project. Shorthand offers unique storytelling capabilities that may enhance the project's narrative and engagement. To further enrich the project page on my website, I will embed interactive charts created using Tableau and Flourish. This integration will provide viewers with a seamless and interactive experience, allowing them to explore the data and insights in-depth.