Small decisions that we make daily may have an impact on both our productivity and our effectiveness. For example, a recent study at Ohio State University shows that university students who are active facebook users tend to have lower grades than non users. While the study does not conclude that Facebook causes lower grades, it does show that Facebook users tend to study fewer hours than non Facebook users. Users studied one to five hours per week, while non-users studied 11 to 15 hours per week. At the same time, 79% of Facebook users felt that the use of Facebook did not have an impact on their academic performance. Yet this study would suggest that users might have a blind spot about Facebook.
The bottom line on social networking is that it is a personal decision. Our time is finite. If we decide to do one thing, it means that we can’t do something else. In moderation, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and all of the other Web 2.0 sites are not harmful. If we give up a low value alternative, such as watching television, there is very little lost. But if we make the choice to spend a lot of time on these sites, we may give up other things of greater long term value.
Small decisions may have a big impact on our lives. Making conscious choices about how we spend our time can make a difference by allowing us to accomplish challenging tasks. I’m not suggesting giving up Facebook or Twitter, just that we need to add some discipline in how we use them.