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Should You Quit Social Media?

by Bruce Haring

Social media is literally everywhere. Facebook currently has well over a billion active users, while Twitter is in second place with around 317 million. Odds are you have an account on at least one social site yourself. Should you, though? What are the ramifications of your time on social media? Should you quit using it entirely? There are pros and cons on both sides.

Problems with Social Media

One of the biggest issues with many social sites is that they put what were intended to be private thoughts on display for everyone to read—and can then come back to haunt you. If you complain on Twitter about the evil corporation that you work for, they’re likely to see the post and fire you. If a customer writes something insulting on their bill, and you post it to Facebook or Instagram, once again, your job could be in jeopardy.

Even if you’re careful to keep your social media posts private, they can still cause problems. In some states, when you’re interviewing for a new job, it’s legal for employers to demand your social media passwords and check your pages right in front of you, to see if there’s anything there that might disqualify you from the position or embarrass the company.

Even if you’re very careful about what you post and where, and never say anything that might embarrass you if it were made public, there’s still a significant problem with social media: It’s a time waster.

You log on just to check on a status you wrote earlier, and two hours later, you’re browsing through all of your friends’ posts, clicking links to interesting articles, and taking quizzes that purport to tell you “Which Game of Thrones Character Is Your Cat?” That’s assuming you don’t play any games on Facebook, which can waste many more hours in the blink of an eye.

Social media is a danger to your productivity. If you have projects you want to complete, either personal or professional, you’ll never get them done if you spend all day on Facebook or Twitter. If you’re finding it difficult to complete tasks in your own life, or your goals keep getting pushed further back for lack of time, you might consider restricting or even cutting out social sites in order to focus on more important things.

Benefits of Social Media

Of course, anything can be a problem if used to excess. Social media can be detrimental to both your personal and professional life, it’s true, but it can have its benefits. For one thing, it allows you to stay in touch with people and make connections you otherwise might not have been able to. You can stay up to date on what your family and friends are doing, whether it’s good news or bad.

These connections can be useful, as well. Say you’re looking to haul a load of boxes across town, and you need someone with a pickup truck to help you out. It turns out, that guy you met once at a work function last year and friended on Facebook has one and is willing to let you use it. Without social media, he would have just been a stranger with whom you shared a conversation and then forgot about. Now, he’s a useful friend. (Just don’t forget to buy him lunch afterwards!)

There are all sorts of benefits you can reap from social media, and plenty of problems that can arise from it as well. The key is, everything in moderation. Use it as a tool without letting it govern your life. Cut down on social media, yes, but unless you’re having a genuine problem curbing your browsing habits, you don’t have to quit it entirely. Just don’t forget about real life!

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