Despite the best intentions, at times we all fall prey to the wonders of the web. After starting to write a blog post, the temptations of the internet can easily distract us from the task at hand. You’re happily typing along when, suddenly, the urge to check Facebook or your email overwhelms you. Your blog post is temporarily put on hold as you reply to emails, check status updates, or Tweet about that cool new product you saw.

According to a report released last December by comScore, one in five minutes online are spent on a social networking site. Rather than viewing social networking sites as one large distraction, try changing your perspective and make them work for use by using them for inspiration.

A few months ago, theΒ New York Times published “Inebriated Love,” a collection of poems developed from Craiglist’s “Missed Connections” section of the website. And I personally love creating cut and paste poetry from friends’ status updates on Facebook by grabbing a bunch of status updates and reorganizing them into a poem-type format. In addition to these creative uses of social networking content, these sites can also be a great source of writing prompts and links to articles, blog posts, and other online stories that can inspire a blog post.

As a writing exercise, try turning online distractions into fodder for your work. If you’re wandering the world of YouTube, try grabbing a line of dialogue or a song lyric from the video you’re currently watching and incorporate it into a blog post. For Twitter fans, use a random Tweet as a writing prompt to either expand on your own ideas about the subject or to incorporate into a fictional short story. (You can even embed the inspirational Tweet into your blog post by following this guide.) Redirecting your focus and using social networking sites is a great way to build new writing habits and take advantage of an endless source of potential inspiration.

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  1. Many times seeing a picture posted on Facebook had tempted me to write a blog about the same! Some are stuck in the draft section, some pictures lies in the downloads section! After reading this post, I have the “urge” to finish those articles in the draft state and may be even write more based on cues from social networking sites!


  2. I’ve often found writing inspiration from comments on Facebook of the blog comment section — some really good posts have come out of them! But I’d never thought about the re-organizing of comments into poetry — I like the idea, & will definitely try next time I’m distracted by social media (which is any moment now………..)


  3. On my last blog, I used a conversation I had with a friend of mine on Facebook as the inspiration for one of my posts. It was a controversial post about religion and was shared more than 400 times on Facebook alone. So I highly recommend putting time wasters like Facebook to good use!


  4. Loved these ideas of how to plow distractions under for a fresh harvest. I was in need of just such a creative response during a writing class earlier today when a student confessed to turning into a kitten with a laser each time she goes to start her homework for our hybrid class. Will share this link for sure. Thanks!


  5. Facebook distracts me and I generally have a great attention span, and I don’t spend much time on Facebook generally. However when I’m blog I hit the zone and keep going until finished.


  6. This is a great idea. I’m struggling with distractions in a major way. Sad thing is, I’ve got 2 hours each day that I’m in a room, on my own, with nothing better to do than write. But the siren song of facebook is just so strong. I love the idea of turning the distractions into inspirations. Thanks so much for the tip!


  7. I am also having problems with the urge of social networking sites and it is a great way to grab them and make them into greater ideas. Distractions to inspirations! πŸ™‚ Thank you for this great idea Erica.