Time to Go on a Facebook Diet This New Year?

Recently, I told you to get naked (with your TRUTH, that is!) for the New Year. To stress this point, I brought up how Facebook is a great example of us NOT being authentic with ourselves. I mean, are you really going to set the “fat” picture of yourself as your profile? I doubt it!!!

I’m kind of over Facebook. Why? Because it’s a huge distraction (and I need those like I need a hole in my head), and truthfully, I don’t like who I’m tempted to be on Facebook. It’s too easy to be who I want others to think I am, and less of who I genuinely am. And that’s not okay with me.

Recently, tech entrepreneur (yes, TECH entrepreneur) Daniel Gulati wrote in Harvard Business Review that Facebook is making us miserable.

OK, I love technology as much or more than the next person. My iPhone often equals my oxygen. And there is obvious value, particularly as an entrepreneur, in harnessing the power that is social media.

What Gulati is saying is that Facebook, in a short eight years, has gone from an innocuous mechanism to connect friends across the miles to a much more intrusive presence in our personal and professional lives.

Facebook is making us miserable, he contends, for three reasons:

  1. It creates a “den” of comparison. It breeds unhappiness when we feel like we can’t measure up to our “friends.”
  2. It’s fragmenting our time. When I’m constantly checking the latest updates, am I really present on the job, or with my own family? Facebook and other social networking sites can be huge distractions, cutting into our productivity and our performance.
  3. Close relationships suffer. When we opt to Facebook post, instead of engaging in actual face-to-face conversation, or when we begin to resent the picture our once-close friends create of their lives online, the intimacy that is a hallmark of real friendships goes the way of the landline phone.

And I would add a fourth:

4.  It’s making us increasingly narcissistic. Do I really think others care what I ate for lunch | how many goals my kid scored in their soccer game | what my opinion of the city’s snow removal service is | where I’m vacationing | how annoyed I am at my co-worker, etc, etc, etc.

Look, perhaps it’s not realistic to simply eliminate Facebook from your life. We live in an online world. BUT maybe we do need to go on a Facebook diet. Here are three easy steps (to address three problems):

  1. Work to maintain your true self online, not just the edited version of yourself that it’s easy to put forth.
  2. Inventory how much time you are spending online, and decide if there are more important priorities that you are neglecting in the pursuit of virtual “interaction”.
  3. Set aside dedicated “Facebook” times, perhaps a touch fewer than you’re allowing now, and balance them with a like number of in-person connections.

Facebook need not make us more miserable or less productive. Let’s harness it the right way this year to make our professional and business lives much happier! Live your life to the fullest in both the online and offline worlds.



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