Perhaps your poison is Scrabble, or maybe you’re more of the Farmville type. Me, I’m old school:  Spider Solitaire all the way. But whatever your passion, you probably think of your favorite Facebook app as a place where time and brain cells get lost. Thanks to a study just released by the University of Maryland, though, you can feel better about yourself:  your participation in the app economy has helped create more than 182,000 new jobs in the U.S. and added more than $12.19 billion to the U.S. economy, in the form of wages and benefits.

Sure, the bulk of these jobs are programmers who create the apps we know and love. And the study found that the average salary of a start-up firm is $61,000 a year (more than $66,000 for IT start-ups). But there’s a whole deeper side to the app economy. According to the study’s authors, when you “Like” a book or movie or other product on Facebook, you’re creating economic value. By sharing your experience with your friends, you’ve set in motion a chain of events:  your friends “provide increased referral traffic for companies’ websites, which in turn creates value for those companies, which in turn results in hiring new employees and retaining existing ones, which in turn results in those employees making purchases and paying rent or making mortgage payments.”

It’s a rosy view of the internet economy, all right. And it goes a little of the way to explain how anyone begins to make money on the internet. Are you persuaded?