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04 June 2011

Facebook, Productivity and Meaningful Relationships



As exam season approaches, and often throughout the rest of the academic year as well - every student has to deal with procrastination. As far as student life goes, procrastination is pretty much our biggest battle. There's so much else going on that it can be easy to put work off. And when there's nothing going on...well it seems that its still pretty easy to avoid work.
Facebook is often blamed as one of the worst culprits, alongside youtube, twitter and the seemingly irresistable call of daytime T.V (Jeremy Kyle anyone?).

Myself? Facebook is definitely my biggest distraction, I used to find myself 'just checking' every few minutes or so, as if something life-changing is suddenly about to appear on my news feed. I would find myself looking at pictures of people I hardly knew, which when you stop to actually think about it - is quite weird! I mean, you wouldn't look up somebody you once went to school with, knock on their door and ask to look through their photo albums - would you?

I stopped to think about how much time I was actually wasting... Which turned out to be quite a lot!

To be honest, half of the people (or as it turned out, more than half) on my 'friends' list, weren't really friends at all. I mean, I knew them all - to the point where I'd recognise them in the street. But I wouldn't have stopped to speak to them. I think for many people, especially of my generation and younger, the number of 'friends' you have on social networking sites is somehow related to your social status. People with 'more' are cooler, people without obviously aren't that cool otherwise they'd have more friends... But honestly, who actually has 784 friends? It

"Friend - a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection and loyalty."

So why, I asked myself, was I wasting precious time on them? I didn't really care about these people, never actually interacted with them in any way, yet I was apparently 'friends' with them. So I set aside half an hour, and I went through my friends list. I asked myself, every time, 'would I stop to speak to this person?' and if my answer was no, then I deleted them. I then went on a similar purge with all the pages that I'd ever 'liked'.
Only the stuff I'm actually interested in now shows up on my news feed - the people I care about and the things I care about. And ironically, I now spend a lot less time logged in. Which means I spend less time using it as a procrastination tool, and I tend to get things done a bit faster. So I can go out and spend proper, quality time with the people that I love, instead of interacting with them over the internet.

Having fewer online 'friends' had given me better relationships with my actual friends. Who'd have thought?

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