Catching Up with Your Friends on Facebook — Literally

I gave a speech on Sunday at the 30th Annual Conference on the First Year Experience — an organization of professionals who help students adjust to the college experience.  I was telling them about the workshops I’ve been giving to college students called “Thriving on Campus and in Cyberspace: Staying Connected While Succeeding in School,” in which I urge students to tune out digital distractions and tune into lectures and learning — for at least part of each day.  One of the problems I was talking about was that when you’re working on your computer, it’s seems like there’s always a party going on on  Facebook: Your friends are having a great time and you’re missing it.  And with the click of your mouse, you could be there, too.

The greater part of my presentation to the students deals with giving them “brain exercises,” demonstrating how much they lose when they’re constantly switching back and forth between tasks. I then give them simple strategies for getting more high quality work done quicker, so they actually have more time to have fun.  Students really enjoy these workshops and most actually adopt some of the strategies I recommend.

But this morning when I woke up (I also talk about why good ideas come to you after sleep), I thought of another argument for delaying the plunge into Facebook and coming back to it later.  If you miss a party, you really miss it.  All you can do is count on your friends to tell you what you missed.  But at least with Facebook, you can go back and see everything that happened! You didn’t miss anything . . . except maybe the ebb and flow of the “conversation.”

So with Facebook, you can really “catch up” with your friends!


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