I like Facebook. I don’t love it, but I like it.
I’m not like some people who spend literally hours searching through the status updates and photos my online friends have posted. I probably hop on there more than I’d like, but the most time I spend is about 5 minutes scrolling through the most recent stuff on my newsfeed. For some people, Facebook sucks some serious time out of their days, though, which is a) ridiculous and b) unhealthy.
I like that Facebook allows me to discover articles and videos through my friends that relate to my interests–for example, a lot of my feminist friends post articles that keep me up-to-date on what’s going on in politics and pop culture. Still, I don’t allow my online life to replace real life.
The preoccupation with Facebook is ridiculous and unhealthy because no matter how vibrant an online community is, it is no replacement for in-person communication. Chatting with a friend via Facebook posts is no substitute for getting together for coffee, commenting on someone’s photo is nothing compared to sitting down with the person and looking through vacation pics, and sending an invite on Facebook is far less personal than sending a text/email/or snail mail invite.
Now I already prefaced, I do like Facebook. I don’t think I would ever delete my account because it’s great to stay connected with people that I might not stay in touch with otherwise. But I’d like to believe that I have far better things to do with my time, and chances are, you do, too.
Maybe you’re like me and might want to shave a few minutes of Facebook use off of your already pretty low use. Or maybe you have a serious itch to check it every few hours. Or maybe you stay logged in ALL DAY while you work and wander over there when you’re bored. No matter what, these are some things I’ve tried out when I get the urge to randomly scroll through my newsfeed:
-Actually log out of the account. Staying logged just makes it easier to type in the URL and browse through pointless status updates of “I just ate a pickle” and photos of your friend’s hamster.
-Search for a news site (or sites!) and go there instead. Staying informed on current events should take up more of your time than checking out your ex’s new significant other.
-Go for a walk. This is simple advice I give for a lot of life’s little problems. Sometimes just a little walk around the block is enough to clear your head and get you focused again.
-Before I hop on Facebook, I ask myself if I have a particular, active goal. When you think about it, is kind of hard to have with Facebook. Unless it’s sending a message or sharing a link, your times is mostly spent looking at a bunch of stuff and browsing. So if you’re just trying to kill time, re-focus on the real task at hand that you’re procrastinating doing. If you do have a goal in mind, log off the second you’ve completed it.
-As an addendum to the last tip, avoid using FB as your primary contact with people. This might just be a pet peeve of mine, but seriously, if you find yourself hopping on to shoot someone a message, think about other options. If you can’t see them in person, Skype or Facetime. If that’s not an option, text or email. When that’s not possible, send snail mail. Any of those options is way, way more personal than a Facebook post or message.
-Track the number of times you go onto Facebook. Sometimes seeing it on paper that you were on Facebook 10 times in one day is enough to make you think twice next time you want to get on there.
-Log into Pandora (a basic account is free!) and discover some awesome new music! I’ve also heard that Spotify is pretty good, too, but I’m a Pandora gal personally. 😉
-Update my personal website, tweet on Twitter, send a silly Snapchat, or something similar. It’s nice to be on teh interwebz and feel connected. Instead of falling into the FB trap, though, use your energy to do something slightly more productive. And yes, you can do productive things on devices like your computer or phone. And yes, Snapchat is questionable, but the point is, you won’t waste 45 minutes on Snapchat.
-Get out of the house and go somewhere. Maybe you have a favorite spot, or maybe you’d like to discover something new. SF has a great website that lists inexpensive events happening each day, and lots of places have similar sites. Go solo and meet cool people, or bring some friends.
Other thoughts? Breaking the cycle of Facebook-ery is hard, but totally possible!