Websites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter have revolutionized the ways we socialize, allowing us to contact friends and family, both close and distant, from anywhere and at any time. Upon opening up the sites, we are pulled into the seemingly endless whirlpool of pictures, events, and news taking place in the lives of everyone we've ever known.
However, summer is ending and school is starting back up for the fall. Every hour spent on a social media website is one more hour spent not doing homework, which can be few and far between in the first place. Here are some guidelines for how to balance potentially addicting websites alongside homework and other academic obligations:
1. Keep your "friend" count low.
The more friends you have updating you on the minutia of their lives, the more time you are going to spend reading about minor details that most likely have no impact on your day. Think about how many of your online friends you actually want or need to keep in touch with, and you may find that a certain few old friends are taking up time you could spend doing other, more important activities. Furthermore, "de-friending" someone doesn't mean permanently cutting off ties; you can always search for them later on if you want to reconnect.
2. Disable the chat feature when you have more important things to do.
Arguably, the chat feature is the most addicting aspect of social media sites, and the most dangerous when you have an important homework assignment to finish. Since chatting can become an activity that never ends, it is safer to simply disable the feature in the first place. Better yet, use it as an incentive: finish your assignment first, then re-enable the chat later.
3. Steer clear of extra games and applications that might pull you even further into the site.
Social media sites are addicting enough as it is; the last thing you need to add to your page is another distracting game! Not to mention, many Facebook applications are notorious for gathering and using your information in a way that you might feel violates your privacy. Use the site to keep in touch with people, but don't let it become a video game too!
4. Try doing your homework in a place where you won't be tempted to check social media sites.
Experiment with studying the old-fashioned way: grab your books, your notes, some pens, and your music player if you must, and head to the library. Or if you'd rather have a change of scenery, head to a local cafe or a study lounge where it's quiet. If you think you'll be tempted to look at your Facebook page, disable your internet. You'll be amazed at how much more quickly you'll work without the temptation!