I have been off Facebook for two weeks now, and I have spent a lot of that time thinking about how I can continue enjoying the balance and—dare I say it—sanity that I have experienced for the last two weeks. I need to go back, not just for work, but also because there are still some people who I stay in contact with best through Facebook. Here is how I am going to use Facebook on my own terms.
Avoiding Facebook the Time Sink
I see three ways of limiting the time I spend on Facebook.
- Limit how long I spend on Facebook by using a timer each time I open the Facebook app or website.
- Limit when I check Facebook by visiting only at set times of the day.
- Limit how often I check Facebook by using a stopwatch to check in at certain intervals.
I think that limiting how often I check Facebook, and perhaps monitoring how long I spend on the site, will work best for my personality.
When I feel bored, I will instead visit Twitter (a much more authentic piece of the web, in my opinion), check my Google Reader feeds (where I have curated for myself interesting information), and news sites. I will remind myself that I am not missing out on “the Facebook party” by not checking in on what is going on, and that I also will not miss anything if I don’t check in for longer than 15 minutes. If I’m being honest with myself, I can admit that I felt that before.
Avoiding Facebook the Drama Queen
This is a tricky one because it depends so heavily on other people, but I have an internal locus of control, and I have been learning over the last few years that you have to put You first sometimes; you cannot live your life by other people’s standards. I think there are two strategies for keeping my inner peace while still using Facebook.
- Unfriend with abandon. This is my compromise with myself between going right back to where things were and unfriending everyone and starting over.
- Use Friend Lists to limit whose posts I see. This feature of Facebook is not as integral as Circles are on Google+, but it is there, and I will use it.
I know that some people get offended when someone unfriends them, but I have decided that if someone’s feelings get hurt because I unfriend them, that is their problem not mine. Also, I will use Friend Lists more purposefully so that I see the posts from people who actually post interesting things. I am also going to work on challenging those negative thoughts: What is causing this emotion? Is it valid, or am I just comparing myself to someone else unfairly?
Avoiding Facebook the Big Brother
Facebook itself is part of the problem here, but so are third-party apps. So I am going to
- limit what I tell Facebook about myself by pairing back the personal information on my profile
- avoid Liking every Page I come across
- use only those third-party apps that I trust, like Goodreads, Twitter, or Hootsuite, apps who already have my information on their own site
- check my privacy settings regularly
I’m in the habit of checking my privacy settings already, the necessity of which annoys me, but if I want to feel comfortable with the changes Facebook often makes to the way other people, apps, and brands interact with my personal information, I need to stay on top of it.
I’m going to leave you with a link to an article I found today that made me reconsider coming back to the Facebook Koolaid: Walled-in: Life Without Facebook by Leo Babuta over at zenhabits.