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Cautiously Optimistic

Social media for better communication and a better life

Trying to Stay Focused? Don’t Check Facebook

with 2 comments

Although I have occasionally criticized Facebook in this space, for purposes of full disclosure, I hereby state that I do enjoy logging in to Facebook and looking at pictures and status updates from my friends.

The “stickiness” of the site is like a siren song, calling me to scroll down further, further, just a little further, down into the bottomless well of information. As you might have guessed, this is by design: the longer we stay, the more revenue we generate for Facebook as we look at ads on the site.

But just because it is good for Facebook does not mean it is good for us. As it turns out, new research shows that checking Facebook just once is enough to distract us from being productive while we are trying to work.

This recent story in Psychology Today discusses a study of how people were able to maintain their focus in the midst of electronic distractions such as the Internet and smartphones.

It turns out that checking Facebook was a major momentum-killer for those trying to focus on a task and be productive. It did not matter if they checked Facebook once or a dozen times: the damage was done and concentration was lost.

I think I already knew this, but the best science often tells us what we already know. Now comes the hard part: actually refraining from checking Facebook when I am under tight deadline pressure.

I’ll let you all know how that turns out.

Follow me on Twitter at @charlesprimm.

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Written by Charles Primm

April 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Truthfully, I’ve become bored with Facebook. When I am there it has been for social purposes and fun gossip. I think you should do a YouTube video series on how your success goes in not getting on Facebook. I’d LOVE to see that. lol

    SocialMediumSphere

    April 12, 2012 at 11:50 am

    • Great idea! Kind of like the dog that didn’t bark. I’ve also seen Facebook get boring. When it started it was like a never-ending high school reunion, but now it’s not so compelling.

      Charles Primm

      April 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm


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