“Someone born in 1960 has watched something like fifty thousand hours of TV already, and may watch another thirty thousand hours before she dies.” Clay Shirky in Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
“Americans watch roughly two hundred billion hours of TV every year…we spend roughly a hundred million hours every weekend just watching commercials.” Clay Shirky
Did you get that? I don’t even know how that’s possible. I can’t fathom it. The math on Shirky’s estimate is that by watching 2.75 hours of TV a day that leads to 1,000 hours a year. 1,000 hours is the equivalent of 42 days. 42 days a year watching television! Whoa! So, on average, each person in the U.S. spends a month and a half every year watching television. So, living 80 years you can rack up 80,000 hours of watching television. That 80,000 hours is the equivalent of 3,333 days. 3,333 days is close to 10 years. This is unreal. On average, American’s watch 10 years of television. 10 years of sitting and watching. 10 years of faux connection with characters on a screen. 10 years of not contributing to the world?
Then just think about 200,000,000,000 hours a year burned by the entire American population watching television. I can’t get my head around that. Can you? The math on that is mind blowing. That’s roughly 8.3 billion days. Or 22.8 million years. I’ve checked my math 5 times on this and keep hoping I’m wrong. Please double check me. Correct me. Tell me it’s millions of years less. Is the math right? Let it be less. Far less. Someone please correct me. Let’s say the numbers are right. The CDC states the average life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.8 years.
So, that 200 billion hours watching television is equivalent to 289,734 lifetimes. Wasted.
And that’s just television. What does time checking apps and playing games on your phone add up to? What about time online? That’s even more hours, days and years.
How much time have I wasted? How many hours? How many days? Have I wasted a year? More? Passively sitting, watching, consuming.
If the average life expectancy is 78.8 and say I live an average lifetime then I have about 43 years left to live. That’s 15,695 days. Or 376,680 hours. What am I going to do with the hours I have? What are you doing with the hours you have left on earth?