I get asked a lot about social media, and if I think Facebook, for example, is a “waste of time.” They reference “kitten videos” or other such silliness. I do use Facebook, and so I’ve paid attention to the interactions I’ve had on it lately, and analyzed them a bit. Today, for example, I spent some time with someone commenting back and forth on each other’s posts, sharing funny pictures, videos, links, etc. I decided there are two ways to look at it:
- “I wasted 20 minutes making stupid pictures, searching for that comedy video on Youtube, and teasing her about her clothing choices.”
- “I spent 20 minutes laughing and engaging with a dear friend who moved away and I haven’t seen in years.”
My personal analysis, combined with my experience as a productivity trainer, led me to a formula. Try evaluating your time on these sites by the following criteria:
- Is your time on these sites preventing you from completing other important tasks or goals? Do you find yourself thinking, “I still haven’t made any progress on (insert your goal here.)” or “I still haven’t done (insert important task here.)” If that’s the case, maybe some time away from social media is a good idea.
- How does it make you feel? Pay attention to whether or not you sign off feeling any kind of unease, sadness, displeasure, frustration, disappointment, guilt, or other negative emotion. If that’s the case, limiting or eliminating your time on these sites is probably a good idea for you. But if you sign off smiling, chuckling, feeling reconnected to friends and/or family, then your time spent on these sites is probably worthy of your attention.
If you don’t like your answer to either of these questions, maybe it’s time to rethink your Facebook use.
Bonus tip: Are you connected to a bunch of people you don’t actually know in person? If so, does that mean you spend your time on Facebook reading the random musings of people who aren’t even your friends? If you’re concerned about how much time you may be spending on Facebook, perhaps it would help to “purge” your friend list down to the people you actually know and really care about.
Remember that your attention determines your experiences, and your experiences determine your life. So in a very real way, your attention determines your life. Make wise choices about where you direct your attention.
What do you think? Is Facebook worthy of your attention? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments. Thanks for reading!