What do we gain from giving up social media? What do we lose? Quartz asked communications, productivity, and networking experts to weigh in on social media's effect on productivity. Nearly all agreed that while avid social media likely diminishes productivity, platforms like Facebook can still be valuable if used in moderation.
Perspective 1: A little social media can be good for morale
Dr. Ben Waber, CEO and co-founder of Humanyze
Waber notes that "there's no hard data showing that people who are on Facebook are more or less productive." In fact, he points to research that suggests judicious social media use may actually boost morale and improve employees' moods at the end of the workday.
Still, he acknowledges that the distractions and interruptions associated with social media negatively affect productivity and performance. His advice? Use social media in moderation.
Perspective 2: Social media is tough to limit
Leslie Peters, Author of Finding Time to Lead: Seven Practices to Unleash Outrageous Potential
For Peters, a "quick check in with Facebook is nearly impossible." She explains that her own attempts at using social media in moderation result in endless scrolling through days of posts.
But she also recognizes that checking Facebook can be a productive use of time for some: "For people who use Facebook for their work, posting and paying attention to who responds provides access to their customers."
Related: How social media connects underrepresented students to college
Perspective 3: You'll find a distraction if you're looking for one
Tiago Forte, Founder of Forte Labs
Forte notes that social media isn't the real problem. If you're determined to procrastinate, you'll find something else to spend your time on. While social media can be both a valuable tool for staying connected and an avenue for distraction, it's not "inherently productive or unproductive," he says. "It is a tool like any other, and how it is used depends on the intentions and self-awareness of the person using it."
Perspective 4: Set guardrails on your social media time
Kelly Hoey, Author of Build Your Dream Network
Hoey agrees that social media is a powerful tool, and that platforms like Facebook are particularly useful for building a community and staying in touch with a network. But she acknowledges that social media also invites criticism and feelings of isolation. "The platform has never engendered a 'post usefully and productively' community code of conduct. Self-regulating, it’s hit or miss. It’s why I’ve never turned on notifications and keep the app off of my phone" (Kessler, Quartz, 5/15).
Learn more: 5 tips for unplugging in higher ed
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