This is a subject that particularly relevant to students. How much time does social networking suck out of your life? An hour a day? A week? You already know you should cut down, here’s how.
1. Turn off notifications. One of the biggest disturbances to work is getting notifications via email or instant messenger. Most of these things don’t have to be dealt with straight away, so turn off instant notifications if these make you click through and waste another half hour replying and checking around.
2. Refuse invites. If you receive an invitation for a new social network, consider refusing the invite, at least until you know how many of your friends will join it. But then again, even if a lot of them are on it, will they use it in the long term? Because if not, then what is the point of joining another site and making a new profile when the one you have now will do just fine? Pause for a moment before blindly clicking yes to invites and signing up. Also think twice about sending invites out to friends on your email contact list when you join a new social networking site. You could be roping them in into the same dilemma that you are in right now.
3. Block out time. This can work both ways, either block out time for work, or block out time to deal with social networks if you really have to. Choose a time when your brain is least productive, such as in the late evening if you are a morning person or vice versa. Leave all of the maintaining until this time of the day. Knowing that you will have time to deal with everything later should free up your mind to do what is really important right now.
4. Delete old accounts. I wasn’t of the Friendster generation, but I know that there are still old accounts floating about on it that people haven’t checked in years. Kind of like boxes in the loft – they don’t get in the way, but they’re still there, and totally useless, so why not get rid of them? The same goes for social networks you haven’t used in a year or more. If you haven’t even checked it in that long, then maybe you won’t for another year or two, so delete it now before you get roped back into it, or someone finds something embarrassing on it from a while back.
5. Connect in the real world. Get out of your room and hang around with your room-mates. Cook up a dinner, or call up a fellow classmate and have a chat. Do something that involves real life interaction. One of the reasons why people interact so much on social networks is because they don’t in real life. So the best cure is to, well, go out and do it in real life. Use social networking to keep in touch with old friends/family or connect with new people but not as a substitute for a real life relationship.
Do you have any handy tips to keep social networking at bay?