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As my friends now realise, I’m back on Facebook. I didn’t miss it while I was gone from mid February until the end of March, but I had a lot of time to think about why we use social networking sites (SNS) and what the benefit is.

One of the first reasons I felt I needed to quit cold turkey and refresh was the “any benefit” hypothesis. Cal Newport talks about this in his book Deep Work; we decide that any benefit from using a platform is enough to justify using it, despite any drawbacks. The benefit of connecting with friends, seeing family photos and, most notably for me, getting event info is definitely an advantage, but when you’re spending hours a day on the platform (mostly looking at ads or scrolling past things you don’t care about) you might not be getting that much in return for your time.

The thing to think about is what benefit you personally get out of the social platforms you are on. If, for you, organising events and staying in touch with people is worth the time spent, then go for it. If communicating with your 20,000 followers on instagram is worth the social pressure to keep posting pictures and videos from your life, then it’s worth it.

Just make sure that you are making that decision for yourself. Only you can figure out how much benefit you get from social media. So figure out what the trade-off is and then make a choice.