On average, people are estimated to up to 40 minutes per day using Facebook (FB). Regardless of how many minutes a person actually spends browsing Facebook and how long Facebook stays open in a browser, most people will agree that this time could be better spent by doing something more productive.
Thus, to get some extra time for work, study, or personal activities it is a good idea to learn to control Facebook so it does not control us.
1 – Why closing Facebook, Unfriending people, and Creating Rules does not work
The first think people try so do when they realize Facebook may be an issue in their life is this is all-or-nothing approach, whereas solution to is easy:
- Close their Facebook
- Unfriending most of their contacts – especially the ones they don’t talk to on regular basis; or
- Creating rules – as to limit their social media use, such as not use it during working hours
I believe that all these tactics are too simplistic and are rather wrong as they imply some sort of sacrifice. In desperation people forget many advantages, which Facebook brings into our lives and why it is second most popular website on Internet.
2 – Why You Want To Have Facebook In Your Life
Its not a surprise that Facebook is a such widely used tool online. After all, it is a tool with many benefits, which is probably why most of us on average spend 40 minutes per day using it. These benefits are:
- Contact Book – A place we keep contact information of all your friends
- Relaxation / Procrastination – This is a real need we experience on a regular basis
- Facebook Messenger – A great and easy way to talk to your contacts
- Digital Photo Album – An easy way to keep all your pictures in one place
- Journal of Your Life, Self, & Interests – An easy way to show other people who you are, what you like, and what you are up to
- Information Tool – Interested what’s happening in the world? Just check your Timeline
- Business Tool – Not necessary to make money, but it is a great way to create social capital (read bellow)
Specially, because of the last point that I believe that we should never unfriend any of our friends.
2 – Not All “Friends” Are The Same On Facebook:
There are three types of people you have on your Facebook.
- Very relevant – In first group we have people who we really want to follow, such as our family, girlfriends / boyfriends, and our personal heroes.
- Interesting – In a second group we have people who entertains us, but that’s about it. We think that their posts are funny, shocking, or eye catching. We can even occasionally meet with these people, but they are by far not as important as the people in the first group. These are the people who keep us unnecessary long on Facebook.
- Irrelevant – In a third group we have people who we don’t really care about, but whose contact we keep, because it may become convenient one day, or because we to polite or lazy not to unfriend them. These are the people who make us want to close our Facebook or unfriend most of our friends.
It is also interesting to say that the number of people in each group is not proportional. In very relevant group we may have only 10 people. In interesting group we may have maximum 100 people, and the rest are irrelevant. If we would want to keep our Facebook clean we want to follow the very relevant group and unfollow most of the interesting and irrelevant groups.
3 – Unfollow but don’t Unfriend
Imagine only see updates only from 10, 20, or 30 people who are very relevant to you. Would this not make Facebook a very relevant tool to use? This is doable, without unfriending people, but by using “unfollow” option that is already inbuilt in Facebook.
You can find this option by following one of two things.
- Put your mouth over someone’s name. You will see a dropdown menu. There will be a option called “Following”. Put your mouth over that option. You will see an “Unfollow” button. Click it.
- Click on someone’s name. You will see their profiles. In top right cornet you will see a “Following” button. Put your mouth over that option. You will see an “Unfollow” button. Click it.
This person will no longer show in your Timeline. In my personal estimation only 1% of all Facebook users use this essential too.
4 – Keep Your Social Capital High
What is Social Capital? Imagine you urgently needed some money. Now imagine that all you needed to do to get that money is to make one Facebook update. Most people if they write this update will automatically lose most of their friends. Other people will have a line of people offering them money. In first case, we have a person with a low social capital and in the second high. Ideally, you want to keep your social capital as high as possible.
To do so, follow there 3 Easy Steps to High Social Capital:
- Engage people who engage with you – Simply, when people like your photos and comment on your posts, just do the same back.
- Revisit old acquaintances – Periodically write to one or two people who you have not spoke to in a while. See how they are doing.
- Be active specially with these with low activity – I specially like to talk to people who are writing a lot, but are not get much replies. They are much more likely to notice your effort compared to someone who gets 100s of likes and comments.
WARNING – Don’t ignore people who like you. The danger of “unfollowing” people who like you is that they will eventually notice this and stop following you, which makes you lose your social capital. To avoid this situation, after unfollowing people, apply the 3 steps to a high social capital, as described above.
5 – Social Dynamic of Who Likes Who
Alright, we are all human. We simply like some people more than others. In turn, some people like us more than others. This creates 4 Ways Social Dynamic of Who Likes Who, such as:
- We like them and they like us
- We dislike them and they dislike us
- We dislike them, but they like us, and
- We like them, but don’t like us
When I say “dislike”, what I mean is that they like us less than other people.
Realizing existence of these 4 groups can be fundamental reduce time wasting behavior as we will stop trying to talk to people who does not like us back, AND we will win a lot of social capital by engaging with people who want to be closer to us.
6 – Clean Your Timeline
Timeline is NUMBER ONE REASON why people wasting time on Facebook.
I can’t stress this enough. But here is some good news. By strategically unfollowing certain people you will keep your timeline clean and relevant, meaning that you will never waste your time when you are surfing Facebook.
But fear not. Even if you unfollow certain people you can keep all your contacts relevant by simply adding them to “lists”, which you can revisit later. After all, you added these people for some reason and you still want to have their contact information in the future, such as in case you decide to go travelling.
7 – Keep Things Organized With “Lists”
If you are a heavy Facebook user, like me, and you don’t want to waste unnecessary long time using this tool, you may want to divide your friends into lists. There are few good reasons to use “Lists” on Facebook:
- Clean house, clean mind – Clutter wastes our time, more, and energy. Oppositely, organizing Friends into “lists” will make you always remember who they are and how you got to know them. E.g., “Friends from travel 2017”.
- Unfollow but don’t forget – Additionally, if you don’t see updates from certain people for some time, you may not recognize who they are in the future. A list can be that mind aid that you need, so you never forget who you are friends with.
- Easy to manage “Lists” – When you invite people to your events you can just invite the whole list of people with one click. How awesome is that?
Facebook is built to take advantage of “Lists”. To create a list all you need to do is to follow this: 3 Step Process To Creating A “List”:
- Put your mouth over someone’s name. You will see a drop-down menu.
- Select “Add to another list…” or “Create a new list…”.
- Create a name for your list or select existing list.
8 – Take Few Hours To Liberate Few Years
40 minutes per day using Facebook can add up to a full waster day every month (!!!) Therefore, if we just take couple of hours to strategically unfollow our friends and to put them into specific list we are essentially saving month and years of our life. Other benefits of this investment are:
- Few minutes per day using Facebook – Soon enough we will only see updates only from the people that matter, which are very few, meaning that you will only spend few minutes per day using this tool.
- No more headaches – No longer you will need to see Facebook as an enemy to conquer or destroy, removing all unnecessary stress from your life.
- Facebook is finally 100% relevant – Finally, Facebook become a tool that brings pleasure into our lives, as everything we do on Facebook is 100% relevant.
9 – Remove Notifications from your Apps, Groups, and Pages
And same story goes for all different Apps, Groups, and Pages, which push notifications to your phone or make irrelevant posts on your timeline. We will similarly want to unfollow them as soon as possible, as to liberate our mental capital.
This is also easily achievable by simply playing around in options. Just look around!
10 – Keep Your Private Life Private
Lastly, as mentioned before, not all “friends” are the same. Therefore, you will want to keep a healthy balance between how much you will let the world and how much you will want to keep your post private, such as that you will want to keep your private life and professional life separate:
- In book “Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google” William Poundstone concluded that our online profiles mater for out professional life as in 2009 45% employers admitted looking up possible candidates online.
- Same book mentions that 35% of recruiters also decided not to hire someone based on inadequate content they found online, like semi naked pictures and photos of drinking, which is about what people are expecting to find on others Facebook.
- Lastly, there are plenty of haters online, who should not have access to your personal information. They may be smiling at you, but you don’t want to give them more ammo to use against you unnecessary.
This is also an advantage of keeping organized lists, as you can limit how much people can see by limiting privacy on certain lists, like for example creating a list for work colleagues, or simply giving them your LinkedIn or WhatsApp instead.
Lastly, if you liked this post and you wonder how this may apply to other social media, such as YouTube, I strongly recommend you to check out the following posts:
- YouTube Manifesto – 8 Guidelines to Smart YouTube Use
- 5 Internet Tools Which Will Improve Your Internet Experience
- Your Online Privacy – How Much Information Should You Share Online?
Let me know bellow what you think and you want me to make a similar manifesto for some other platform.