Deactivate Facebook and Twitter to Improve Your Focus

25 Comments

Today I have deactivated my Facebook account, and will no longer be posting to my Twitter account. This is another 30-day challenge. I’m an avid social networker, but at the end of the day, I realize that much of the conversations that happen through these networks are not directly supporting my overall goals or well-being.

Participating in social networks is a fantastic thing, but you need to be incredibly disclipined and focused so that you do not begin to allow the network to swallow you whole. As your network builds, the more people will contact you, the bigger and busier your news “feed” will be and the higher the noise-to-signal ratio will become.

You run the risk of becoming a human spam filter just trying to parse through what is valueable vs nice-to-have vs absolute garbage. For me, with over 600 friends on facebook, the information tsunami was difficult to manage. I would check the site several times a day just to see if there was something of interest.

I would get people sending me notes and e-mails on Facebook totally out of the blue and often off-topic. I’d also have lots of “shallow” interactions with people and very few meaningful conversations. In the end, I am not that big on small talk. I would much rather have a few meaningful conversations with people than a hundred casual chats. People can easily contact me through my blog (or my e-mail, which is also posted on this blog).

Lastly, I also have found myself posting updates and photos just to see what other people think…that is to say, just to get a reaction. I don’t think this is healthy behavior or a good use of my time.

Therefore, for the next 30 days, I have deactivated my Facebook account and also will not be using Twitter at all. The only exception with Twitter is that when I post a blog, my site auto-updates to Twitter. I’ll let that continue, I just won’t check it! I am curious to see if I even miss not having this connection to my online network.

25 comments

  1. Phiri says:

    Thank you for the post Ravi.
    I have drastically reduced the time I spend on social networks and I can honestly say that I have never felt like this in a long time… I guess I just never realized that I was also a spam filter for my 560 Facebook friends and a whole host of twitter followings.

  2. FFonteent says:

    Thank you very much for this blog! It’s good to know that I am on the same page with others who value their time and choose to use it in a productive manner. Time is a very value commodity; once lost can not be retrieved.

  3. Pavani says:

    Thank You!!!! It’s good to know that there are others like me too!!!
    Facebook had started to eat me up.. I’m taking up this 30day challenge.. Let’s keep ourselves together through this.. I really wanna take this time out and use it productively. I had lost complete touch with my books!!!
    Thank You for the blog!!

  4. Jen Fot says:

    Funnily enough, it was this post that I was directed to in my recent quest to temporarily deactivate my Facebook account… for pretty much the same reasons as you, Ravi. Admittedly, Facebook can be a lot of fun but I also feel it’s impeding my growth and progress in other areas. Needless to say, I haven’t been able to sever the cord yet but will soon!… If not deactivate, at least abstain for a good month. How did you fare overall?

    • Ravi Raman says:

      It was an awesome experiment. Really- if you are hesitating to do it than it probably means you should šŸ™‚ Just try for a month and then go back to it. Doesn’t have to be permanent.

  5. Tim says:

    Hi, why not delete social networking accounts permanently? I did so a week ago and haven’t had any regrets. It’s back to communicating on a personal, and I’d like to think more fulfilling, level. But this is just a thought, do whatever works for you =)

    Cheerio,

    Timo

  6. Eileen says:

    I was just today wondering where Ravi’s FB updates had gone. I was going through my emails and saw this blog. Good for you, I say…although I do miss your inspirational updates. You inspired my last bout of clean eating!

  7. John says:

    Sltrigal, in your situation I can understand how FB can be useful, especially for internationl communication. But for most people who do not have a need for internationl communication, it becomes a waste of time. After a year of using FB, I have now been away for almost 2 months, and I’ve noticed I use the internet for more important reasons. I also realized how much private information you release to the public on FB. An easy way to fall prey to identity theft. Many people are naive to this concept.

  8. Sltrigal says:

    Actually, there is another to see this. Facebook or anything similar should be taken for what it is and used as a tool, because it is only a tool.
    So far, I have lived half of my life in the US and half in France, I have true friends in both countries that I talk to at least on a weekly basis, I also hve my friends and social relationships here in Paris, they are people I share my daily life with. Most of them are on my Facebook network and we from times to times send each other a message or share pictures (FB is actually great for that, when I am in the US I can send them pictures and share with them what I do and see and inversely back in Paris I can share some moments of my life with my fellows in the US). But my relationships with these people remain real versus virtual. However I do enjoy the exchange that FB allows with people I met only once or even never but that share some common interests with me and these exchange can be very rich and useful sometimes even helpful.
    FB is a great tool, just like blogs, if it does not become you entire and only social life.
    However I do enjoy

  9. Hi Ravi,

    Thank you for the inspiring thought and moved through your 30 Days Challenge, and one of them is to deactivate your FB and Twitter temporarily.

    I deactivated my FB account today after reading this blog post of yours as I know that I’ve been spending too much time on FB, checking, monitoring the news feed, replying and commenting on others news…which are all taking up my time and it doesn’t contribute much at all and distract me from my daily tasks and my goals.

    While time is our most valuable resource…one of my mentors mentioned that…:)

  10. Gregorio says:

    Ravi,

    Thank you for articulating your thoughts on social network devices such as facebook.

    Just thirty minutes prior to finding/reading your blog, I deactivated my fb account. Yes, a big slice of my time chart = fb monitoring

    Your reader’s comments were also affirming. It’s like an addiction, this facebook.

    Cheers to all,

    Gregorio

  11. Olga says:

    It seems to me that this idea of cutting on social websites and other similar media is floating in the air: a lot of people have expressed it recently around me. Not sure if it’s a trend or a sign for me to do the same šŸ™‚ But you are bringing a lot of good points! Especially for me, about distraction from your goals and wanting to know what other people think.
    I got freaked out for a short time, though: not seeing your usual posts on FB, I was afraid smth happened to you. Glad you are not just ok, but growing.. as always :))

    • Ravi Raman says:

      Hey Olga!!! I’m alive and kickin šŸ™‚ and enjoying the social network free life! A phone call or well thought out email is so much better than all the ad-hoc stuff that I need to deal with on social networks. I’m not saying a won’t return to FB after this experiment, just that I am enjoying my time away from it!

  12. John says:

    Its geared too much for people who want to live in the past or stay away from reality. Ha, it took me a year to realize it though. I’m glad I left.

  13. Natasha says:

    Hi Ravi! To start off, great blog. I’m in the same boat as you and am wondering how I would fare if I ventured on a 30 day challenge to eliminate Facebook. It’s become such an addiction that I found myself looking for the “Like” button after I read your post. Good luck on your challenge and I may be joining you soon. šŸ™‚

  14. Scott G F says:

    Knowing myself and how I would allow Facebook and Twitter to dominate my day I choose to not even open an account. Just like video games, I would be on them all the time, neglecting more important things in my life.

    It’s a habit I choose to not engage in.

    Good luck Ravi. The real world is always better then the virtual one!
    Peace

  15. Joe Rickicki says:

    Ravi, an interesting series of posts recently concerning focus, goals, and distractions. I think many of us are struggling with the same issues.

    My problem is that I’m a web developer, so when I’m working, I’m generally online and close to Facebook or some other potential distraction. It’s fun to catch up with old people, see if someone’s posted something funny, etc. I’ve also reconnected with people face to face when they’ve posted their travel itineraries and were swinging through Seattle. A couple of these meetings have been memorable. Also, I really have a good time joking back and forth with a couple of friends who are friends in the real world. The problem like you’ve said in another post is that there are no restrictions on where you will stumble onto next in cyberspace. There is so much amazing, engaging information out there to consume, and the internet can quickly become like crack for the curious mind.

    The funny thing is, when I go on vacation or something, I don’t miss it at all. It’s not something primal or necessary, like food, sleep, touch. And as a former smoker, it seems very similar.

  16. KS says:

    Hey Ravi,

    I’ve been thinking the exact same thing lately, and I posted something similar to Twitter. the conversations are often much less meaningful, and feels like a big party. Where everyone is just walking around, shouting out what’s on their mind, with a slim chance of sparking a conversation (which ends up being very brief anyway). Facebook isn’t as bad, but Twitter, seems extremely high noise/signal ratio.

    Great idea, keep us posted!

  17. Will says:

    I found myself in a similar situation as you with respect to facebook. This was right after they changed the front page to be dominated by the new news feed. I was really just wanting to get rid of facebook entirely. I realized though, that there are a good number of people whom I like, but don’t have a phone relationship with. My solution, which I would recommend, was to purge all non-friends from my friendlist.
    I applied the criteria,
    1. Do I remember who this person is?
    2. If yes, do I actually like them?
    3. If yes, can I see myself hanging out with them one-on-one?
    4. If no, do we have a strong history?

    A “no” to any without a “yes” to 4. would result in a removal. I went from 300 friends down to 95, and it made facebook much more useful to me.

    Good luck in your trial!

  18. Ravi, this is great news! Perhaps the most powerful statement is the initial statement you made:

    “I realize that much of the conversations that happen through these networks are not directly supporting my overall goals or well-being.”

    Not only do they not directly support your overall goals, in many specific cases you can evaluate, they directly detract from your your overall goals and have adverse effects on your short-term and long-term visions.

    This is a great realization to make and I hope it is only a matter of time before others realize where they are really spending their time. It may take a colored pie chart clearly labeled accurately with allotments for our time spent per category for people to really wake up to this truth that engulfs their daily lives.

    I’m proud of you for recognizing this and look forward to watching you thrive with productivity as a by-product of the decision you’ve made today!

    Well done!

    Robert Cheeke

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