There are many, many articles on everyone’s timeline about how much time can be wasted on Facebook, and how bad it can be for everyone (all that fear of missing out) and how damaging it can be for teens, and so on and so on.
So I am not going to say all that. Instead, I am going to note that a recent week-long holiday in which I simply did not look at Facebook was an eye-opener. In the run-up to our break, I had become aware of how much time I was spending endlessly scrolling through my Facebook timeline any time I had a moment. I had noticed how those “moments” turned into 30-minute holes in my day. So I just… stopped doing it for a week.
What I found was predictable, really. I had a lot more time for other things that I feel are of more value: reading, talking, looking at the view, studying birds, taking photographs (like the one in this post) paying attention to the people around me. The only thing I missed was news of friends and family, particularly those who live far away, and those who share things that are enlightening or interesting or thought-provoking, or that make me laugh or cry.
So I am now embarking on what I call Facebook Light. I run a Facebook page to promote my business, so I can’t cut ties altogether. And I do want the afore-mentioned F&F news. And the fun. To do that, I have started on a programme of pruning and time management.
Here, for those who might want to do the same, is how I am approaching it:
* I have made a bookmark of my Facebook business page and put it in the folder on Chrome where I keep all my work-related stuff. During the working day, when I need to tend to the page, I just use the bookmark (and resist the temptation to look at all the other stuff).
*Still to do – make bookmarks for the groups or pages I use regularly for work, and look at them in the same way.
* Once day – and once a day only – I spend about 15 minutes looking at the feed on my phone, responding and sharing as I usually would. Which leads me to pruning.
Like everyone else, I have a whole bunch of Facebook friends – but they aren’t all friends. Some are former colleagues. Some are friends of friends. Some are people I was at school with. Some are people I was at university with. Some are people I don’t know at all, but they seem to know me. I hold none of this against any of them personally, but the net result is that my feed is often filled with things that are mystifying or depressing or irritating or all three. In my 15 minutes a day, I now look at each and every person and if they do not qualify as genuine friends, or interesting, or entertaining, or enlightening, I am unfollowing them (again nothing personal: what they share just doesn’t resonate with me, however much it might with them). Which over time is going to mean that 15 minutes a day is a perfectly reasonable time to spend on maintaining my Facebook circle.
Anyone else want to give it a try?