16 Social Media Disruptions That Ruin Productivity
Social media has definitely changed the way we live and act, and not always for the better. For starters, each network — Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, etc. — has a seemingly infinite supply of distractions.
While it’s okay to go down those rabbit holes every once and a while, they are addictive by nature, and you can soon find yourself in the habit of endlessly scrolling when you should be studying or earning money or doing virtually anything else productive.
It helps to know what you are up against. In that spirit, we submit to you the 16 Social Media Disruptions That Ruin Productivity. The hope is that by calling them out, it will become easier to stop them from taking over our lives. Let’s (sc)roll.
Social Media Disruption No. 1. Political arguments.
Has anyone ever changed their political views or beliefs over a cutting political barb on Facebook? No? How shocking.
The bad thing about election season and social media is that everyone thinks their opinion matters or makes a difference. They haven’t awakened to the fact that they’re either preaching to the choir or alienating people with whom they disagree.
There are no winners, only whiners, and you can blow two hours on a single post or response that gets you nowhere. Horrible use of time in every way.
2. Religious arguments.
Where to begin with this one? A) Unless you’ve died, seen unequivocally what lies on the other side, and brought back tangible proof with you that other people cannot dispute, then what you believe is just faith and not proof.
While it is perfectly acceptable to share religious views with others, social media is seldom the place for it because it’s a cold, unfeeling, mass broadcast channel. Religious beliefs are personal, and if you view yours as dignified, they’re better shared in a one-on-one or small group environment with people you can actually connect with.
There is no connecting over this sort of thing on a public thread. DMs or smaller chat threads, we’ll give you, are a bit more acceptable, but they still eat away at time that you could be using for something productive. And since people love to be understood when discussing their beliefs, constructed responses take so much longer to produce.
3. Voicing your opinion on the latest news.
This is completely pointless because it just gets lost in the Internet ether usually, amid the hundreds of other comments.
And with social media sites like Facebook, it is getting harder to be seen because of the algorithms. A far better use of time is to wait until the weekend or a day off, and if you still feel compelled to say something, then go for it. You’ll at least know it resonated enough, and you won’t be fighting for eyeballs in a sea of other opinions.
Also, by giving yourself one day a week to comment on things, you’ll ramp up productivity while figuring out what is really important to you, and what elicits a knee-jerk response.
You’ve probably seen all the videos on YouTube where someone “secretly records” someone — usually a Millennial — taking forever to stage the perfect selfie.
The authenticity of those videos — at least some of them — can easily be questioned, but having actually seen something like that go down out in public, it’s clear that it does happen.
Selfies are designed to document the moment and save it for posterity, but in reality they mostly take you out of the moment, take forever to set up between initial snaps and retakes, and don’t really do much to elevate your profile.
Think about the time that you waste taking a selfie — or should we say “selfies,” because it’s always more than one to get the right one — and calculate it by number of images, time to upload, comments and responses that you and others make on the post, then multiply it times the number of selfies you take in a year.
Whatever it comes out to, is probably more time than you would like to admit.
Social media sites, particularly Facebook, did move into the field of online games over the years with Words With Friends, Tetris Blitz, Cookie Jam, and several others. They are enormous time-wasters designed to keep you playing for as long as humanly possible.
By nature, games in general are a bane on productivity, but couple it with the social interaction of social media, and you have a recipe for addiction that will keep you from accomplishing anything meaningful whatsoever.
The really simple fix for this is to never start playing, and if you already are, stop immediately and find other outlets for your downtime. You may think you’re going to take a five-minute break to play [Game of the Day] after a study session, but that five minutes almost always turns into 30.
6. Checking just to check it.
This was ultimately what got me to pull back my personal social media profiles. I keep Twitter because it never has been as addictive, but Facebook went bye-bye two years ago, and I have never looked back.
That’s because I finally woke up one day to the fact that I would check Facebook constantly, just out of sheer boredom.
Read an email. Check Facebook. Respond to email. Check Facebook. Stop halfway through the response and check Facebook again. Start an article. Check Facebook 50 times throughout the writing of it. Finish. Check Facebook again.
It was maddening, and when I finally disconnected it in May 2015, I had a two-week “getting used to it” period where I would still go to Facebook.com out of habit despite my account being completely deactivated.
That would serve as a not-so-subtle reminder that I had a problem, but going cold turkey also made me realize how little I actually needed it.
Nine Out of Ten People Will Not Get Every ‘Rocky’ Question Right.
See If You Are The World’s Biggest ‘Seinfeld’ Fan.
‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ Quiz: Less Than 1% Get No. 9 Right.
They’re all over Facebook, and BuzzFeed is largely to blame. We’ve all been guilty of taking one that appealed to our interests at some point. What sucks about it, is the quizzes are structured to keep you involved for as long as possible.
That’s why there is an image and 53 annoying slides for each question instead of letting you scroll down the page and make quick plain text selections.
By engaging you for longer, the publisher can charge more for advertising. That’s not a tinfoil hat observation. I’ve actually written these quizzes professionally for a number of companies, and that’s exactly how it works. More clicks, more time, more money.
The bad thing for you is the time factor. When you’re spending all that time on the quiz, you’re not tending to the things that should matter, and your productivity time goes down the toilet.
8. Online flea markets.
A newer development that has arisen out of social media are the online flea market groups where you can buy actual stuff from people in your area.
It’s a great way to get an affordable vacuum cleaner, but it can also lock you into a maze of interaction with other people and waste your time and money if someone doesn’t deliver as promised, or sets a meeting with you only to never be heard from again as you sit there in the parking lot wondering WTF happened.
9. Fan groups.
Before bidding farewell to Facebook, I had made the mistake of indulging my love for Seinfeld to the point that I joined a group devoted to the series.
The group was filled with great fans who were able to repurpose some of the show’s funny observations into their own real world situations. They would post captions of something from the show that somehow applied to one of their life experiences.
These “Seinfeld moments” were amusing to see throughout the day, but as the group grew, it started to dominate the feed and my time. Pretty soon I was posting my own “Seinfeld moments,” and it ate further into my day until I was losing anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour per day just on that.
Not a great idea if you’re a busy person, because where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. And if you’re wasting 30 minutes on something like that, then you may be wasting the same or worse on other social media disruptions listed here.
10. Network hopping.
Ah, the worst case scenario. You spend all your free time, and part of your productive time, getting engaged on one social network when another one comes along and demands even more of your time.
When this happens, you may scale back on one site for just a bit, but your involvement with it never goes away, and now you’re obsessing over a new toy that will only (eventually) become an annoyingly “necessary” part of your life.
Let’s look at a time example of how this can get messy.
You spend two hours a day on Facebook. Then, you hear about SnapChat. You take it for a test drive, and it’s really cool.
You start spending most of your time on that. But Facebook is still there. You’ve got obligations to your friends there, right?
So now instead of the two hours on Facebook, you’re spending two hours on SnapChat and 30 minutes on Facebook.
You just increased your social media usage time by 25%, but you’re not even aware that you did because you think you’re spending all your time on SnapChat when you’re not. You just reallocated the main social media time and added more in order to “upkeep” your Facebook habit. Add a third social network, and it only gets worse.
11. Movie trailers.
It’s always fun to see what fresh new movies or television shows are going to be like before actually watching them. A movie (or TV) trailer can give you a good idea in three minutes whether you actually want to spend time with a film or show.
But consider the other components that go with watching trailers on social media sites.
You watch the trailer (3 minutes). You read a few comments (3 minutes). You find some piece of insight that you really respond to and decide to leave a response (3-10 minutes). You get locked into an extended discussion or disagreement (who knows?).
Point being: anything you do on social media can metastasize and become a cancer on your productivity.
Facebook Live has allowed people to broadcast in real time while fielding questions and comments. While the ordinary person may not have much use for creating a FacebookLive, they do often find themselves responding to one, and that’s, again, more time that could be spent on the pursuit of productivity.
13. Old boyfriends and girlfriends.
One of the old standards that got us on to Facebook in the first place.
It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re obsessing over what might have been, the other directions your life could have taken (for better and worse).
How better to view that than through the microcosm of past relationships?
By trailing your old flames, you can see whether you missed the boat or got lucky by calling it quits.
In addition to viewing their pics and posts, though, another danger of this is actually rekindling fires that should have stayed dead. It can poison relationships and ultimately lead to their unraveling, as this post indicates, while locking you into a trap of repeating past mistakes.
“Stalking,” in the 1980s, had a more nightmarish tone to it thanks to a slate of Halloween movies and their knockoffs. The faceless killer following his victims’ every moves while breathing heavy into a boom mic kept the S-word firmly in camp horror.
But over time, the term had a subtle but important shift in meaning.
Social media made it possible for everyone to stalk in a casual and less threatening manner. You meet someone who’s of interest to you, tune up the old social media site and see if they have a profile. If they do have a profile, see how stringent it is on privacy settings. If it’s not, jackpot, you’re off to the races learning a creepy amount of information even though you’ve got no intention to actually be creepy with it.
No big deal. Heck, the very nature of social media, especially with how you construct your privacy settings, is permissive of stalking. But the problem for the stalker is that it completely eats away at their ability to lead productive lives. And too much of it could very well cause one to disconnect from reality.
15. Following personalities.
We all have our favorite celebrities or personalities who are currently active on social media, and they can be a real hoot to follow.
For me, it’s Bill Burr. Could be (probably is) someone different for you.
But it can also lead you to spend an inordinate amount of time chasing links that they share, getting wrapped up in discussions that draw you away from what you’re supposed to be doing, and desperately trying to get “noticed” by the person you’re following.
And the Final Social Media Disruption: Making new ‘friends.’
Because the more friends that you have, the more easily you can become ensconced in all of the previous 15 disruptions.
Consider it “exponentialism.”
Once you get locked into certain people or behaviors that you enjoy, technology makes it easier and easier to expand your involvement with those things by suggesting new things you should try, new people to follow. Pretty soon everything is highly targeted to your interests, and you spend more time indulging than taking care of whatever business you need to take care of.
Now that you know what they are, you can hopefully avoid them. What are some of the social media disruptions that cause you the most downtime?
[Featured Image by DIYGenius]