Recently, my friend Annaliese wrote a blog post about breaking up with Facebook. When I read it, I felt a little twinge of jealousy. Ah, to be free of the social media demon. I longed for her new found time for reading and simply soaking up life. I fantasized for a moment about deleting my Facebook account and never looking back.
Then I remembered, there are a few things I still like about Facebook. I like that I have a handful of high school friends I have reconnected with on Facebook, and I find I like them even better now than I did in high school. I have friends who have moved away, family who lives across the country, and past coworkers whom I like to keep up on their lives, if only from a voyeuristic, peeking-in-through-the-window way. I like that Facebook allows an introvert like me to stay connected with the people I want to be connected to.
But what about everything else? What about the 80% of my news feed that I really don't need to see, and simply spend time reading because it is there in front of me? How do I enjoy the little bit of Facebook I like without having to be sucked into the Facebook machine and wasting hours of my life reading about what a random blogger I don't know is giving away or about what someone I sat next to once in high school Algebra ate for lunch?
Enter my new Facebook strategy.
Image: Glasseyesview via Flickr
Granted, this may not work in a week, or a month, or a few months because Facebook constantly changes the features and options available. So I'm sure once Facebook realizes people are using a work around to avoid the sponsored posts and algorithm-figured, Facebook-selected newsfeed items, this won't be an option. But until then, here's how I'm taming the Facebook monster…
1. I created a custom Friends list. On this list, I only included the friends and family whom I really want to see updates from daily. This is about a third of my actual friends count. Here's how I did this:
a. From your Home page view, scroll down and find the "Friends" heading on the left column. Click the "More" option that appears when you mouse over that area.
b. You will see a box with "Friends" at the top. Next to that is an option to "+Create List." Click on that. Choose a name for your list. I chose MY Newsfeed. Don't worry about the box that asks who you want to add to the list. Leave that blank and click "Create."
c. You now have an option to click "Add Friends to List." Click this. Now your entire friend list comes up, and you can simply click on every person you would like to add. If you have pages you would like to add, you can also click the drop down in the top right corner of this box and switch from "Friends" to "Pages." Once you have added everyone you want, then click "Finish."
d. Now, if you want your list to be a little easier to find, you can head back to the “More” button that was next to “Friends” in the left hand column of your home page. When you see your lists, hover over the little pencil icon. A drop down will appear and you can choose to add the list to your favorites. This simply puts it up higher in the column on the left. The very top part of that column, to be exact!
e. If you are using a mobile device, you can still view your new Friend list. Where you normally click on “News Feed” to change to “Most Recent” or “Top Stories,” click on the little downward arrow at the bottom of that menu. Now you have more choices appear. You can select the list you created, and your newsfeed will now feature that list!
2. I’m sticking to my list! Creating the list only saves time if I actually use it! Seems like stating the obvious, but I know I have to remind myself to stick to the plan.
3. I turned off the Facebook notifications on my phone. I most frequently check Facebook from my phone, so I turned off the little pop-ups that tell me I have a message, or someone else commented on a post, or I was tagged in a picture. These are far too tempting.
4. I limit the number of times I get on Facebook, and for how long. I’m less tempted to poke around in other places if I only have so much time to catch up on the things I am actually interested in and not the things I am really distracted by.
Am I curing my social media obsession? Not really. I think I get on Instagram more often now, but that platform is easier to scroll, and people post much less frequently. So overall, I think I am still wasting less time. Do I miss Facebook? Nope. Not a bit. That tells me something.
How do you manage your social media time?
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