Why social media for me :
It was one of those strenuous days in 2017. I had too much to do in 3 or 4 activities spread across the day. I like focus, and that’s the way I have been for the past many years. I like channelizing my mind, body and my energies in a task. But then, there are some boring moments when you would like to just get off for a minute or two, wander your body and your mind, and then get back to the task.
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, et al) have been a cure (or a curse on how you see it). That one of two minutes of wandering of the mind away from the task using social media extended to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and before you know, it had consumed a full 43 minutes!
“Well, that’s not good”, I told myself. I decided to take a mental inventory of HOW the time is spent on social media. I sat down and wrote a diary of all the posts I read, I liked and shared, and just “browsing”. Though it was just my break time that I spend on social media, I wanted to justify myself on how the time is spent, because it’s my precious breath and life after all, moment after moment, before I die!
The notes I saw alarmed me. 89% of the time was just browsing post after post in Facebook and Twitter, without any focus, learning or practicing a skill. A typical “browse” Facebook session contained a book advertisement from a book club, an advertisement on how to “opt-in” more customers to your blog site, a post in a school group asking whether this school is better or that, a post in a music group with a picture of a guy with a violin, a group post about the latest trend in western cinema, a post in a railway group about that fantastic engine….You get the drift.
A rattling mind and the consequences
If your mind travels this fast with no focus on a specific subject or related thinking, you know where you will get to – nowhere. It not only puts your brain in an ever-shifting mode, it will strain your brain to no-end resulting in nervousness, a sense of loss, depression, anger and a deprived feeling! Many studies have also shown the same.
Social media tools for streamlining
Social media tools that help you segregate topics as streams based on hashtags or keywords are helpful. It helps browse through the social media posts and organize your thoughts on one direction, learning a thing or two about a topic and participating in a discussion. But many of us do not use those tools on a native basis, but login to the social media sites directly. In this year, I have reminded myself to use these tools instead of logging into social media sites directly, and save myself of the mental stress! If I ever wanted to take a 2-minute break, that should not be and won’t be on the social media sites, but a short walk, a visit to the restroom, a cup of water and then back to work again.
Not just the break time!
We all know the three things that are required to excel – Learn, Practice, Network. A typical successful person’s time management has these components. For all of these, accessing the Internet has become a necessity. For learning and networking, social media has become important. We just need be careful that our learning and networking time is used productively, not just during the break time, but during our work time also, and be conscious that our precious time is not wasted in endless, mindless browsing.
I thought I would just share my thoughts on this, which I had been postponing for a while now. I wrote a Facebook post (there you go!) on this sometime back, but not sure how many people it reached, so here I am, writing a blog. Hopefully it’s useful for you!
Thanks for listening!