Twitter and Facebook can actually make you more productive.

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Employers don’t really like Facebook and Twitter, so before they decide to ban these two social networking apps into the abyss for wasting your time hence pulling productivity down, tell them that studies have shown a different picture.

But for knowledge workers charged with transforming ideas into products – whether gadgets, code, or even Wired articles – goofing off isn’t the enemy. In fact, regularly stepping back from the project at hand can be essential to success. And social networks are particularly well suited to stoking the creative mind.

How Twitter and Facebook Make Us More Productive [Wired.com]

This doesn’t mean you Tweet every other minute or post everystep you take on your Facebook profile. The key-word is “regularly stepping back” which implies that you take short rest-bites while working on your project or task.

Breaking your train of thought can introduce new ideas, ideas you may not have been able to see before, into your task and this is what jump-starts the creative process.

So, having a Facebook or Twitter account doesn’t make you the devil’s advocate for slacking off work, it may just make you the star employee of the month for creativity.

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Facebook, Twitter and small talk may make you unhappy

Apparently, talking about the end of the world could make you happier than talking about the weather. In fact talking in depth about any topic as opposed to merely getting by with small talk can make you a happier and more satisfied person. This is according to a study conducted by Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona and reported in The New York Times magazine.

“By engaging in meaningful conversations, we manage to impose meaning on an otherwise pretty chaotic world,” Dr. Mehl said. “And interpersonally, as you find this meaning, you bond with your interactive partner, and we know that interpersonal connection and integration is a core fundamental foundation of happiness.”

Which brings me to my rather un-productive habit of updating my Facebook and Twitter status on a almost constant basis. And I find myself attaching the state of my happiness for the day, on how many of my friends actually react to any of my status postings.

But the happiest person in the study, based on self-reports about satisfaction with life and other happiness measures as well as reports from people who knew the subject, had twice as many substantive conversations, and only one-third of the amount of small talk as the unhappiest, Dr. Mehl said. Almost every other conversation the happiest person had – 45.9 percent of the day’s conversations – were substantive, while only 21.8 percent of the unhappiest person’s conversations were substantive.

Small talk made up only 10 percent of the happiest person’s conversations, while it made up almost three times as much — or 28.3 percent — of the unhappiest person’s conversations.

Unfortunately, on Facebook or Twitter there is minimal if not no small talk at all. What more to say, substantive conversations. And maybe to a certain degree, SMS has stop us from being really happy because it takes away that need to have a real conversation with someone and replaced it with short burst of smilies and “hehe haha.”

There is nothing wrong with the technology. It has done wonders in bringing together friends who have lost contact with each other. The problems rest with the form of contact itself. Does merely reading status updates constitute a conversation now? Or are we really missing the point with tech such as Facebook and Twitter?

So, rather then simply texting people or leaving my status online. I’ll call them. It’s more meaningful to hear a friend’s voice and to know we are conversing the way humans beings were made to converse.

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My FaceBook Persona is not Me.

Listening to Prof. Bibo White talk on the future of social networking, where FaceBook leads the way with over 400 million members, actually making it the 3rd largest country in the world (in terms of population); I started thinking how my FaceBook account has taken over my life.

Every morning, I open FaceBook before my office email. I run TweekDeck; which allows me to update FaceBook and Twitter; without the need to visit the websites and browse through the status updates sof my friends. Yup, I am part of the FaceBook nation but how much of what I put on FaceBook really represents me?

FaceBook is my online persona, and it may or may not be true to who I am. I can safely hide behind a digital mask and none would be the wiser to me. And I am beginning to catch myself telling people I meet to search me on FaceBook. I don’t carry name-cards anymore, choosing instead to ask people to Google my name and it will lead them to my blog.

But FaceBook is not me. It represents me, yet it is not me. It doesn’t capture me as a person. Instead, you read what I want you to read. And I can make up whatever I want you to read. I can be a hard-convict in prison and online, I can make myself to be the granny that lives next door you to you.

And looking at my FaceBook account, I have almost 500 friends yet in everyday life, I tend to talk to only 3 people. And these 3 people know me as I am, not the FaceBook persona but me as a human being.

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