There’s no denying that facebook has changed the way we interact with each other. We can now feel more connected with people we cherish who we never get to see, keep up to date with news and areas of interest and enjoy a laugh or a WTF or two. However, on the flipside facebook can also resemble a 24 hour soap opera – an endless source of parenting competition, passive aggressiveness and all out blowups. Whichever is your experience – and it’s possibly a bit of both – there’s also no denying that facebook is one giant time suck. You just go in for an innocent check of the news feed and you emerge hours later armed with a whole heap of useless information and a little bit traumatised by the views harboured by other members of your extended friendship group or on pages you like. Or maybe that’s just me.
I had a facebook break of around three weeks or so at the start of the year and I must say I felt freer than I had in a long time. By not updating my status, I was free to be in the moment instead of describing it. With no pressure to ‘like’ what was served up in front of me by facebook, I could use that time to do other things I like and see people I like instead. I felt more mindful of moments, less distracted and more present. Since then, I’ve looked at ways that I can enjoy the benefits of the connectedness of facebook without being completely addicted to its juicy gossipy nothingness.
So, in under one minute join me and:
1. Delete your facebook mobile app: This is a hangover from my self-imposed facebook ban. Get rid of that damn thing. Yes, I know it’s handy when you’re waiting, killing time or on public transport but ask yourself if there would be something else better you could spend that time doing. For us mums, that may be as simple as closingour eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Yes, you may miss out on something – that was the overwhelming fear I had when I first did it – but your life will be a lot richer for it. You’ll also be protected from making spur of the moment updates that you may later regret when the heat of the moment is over, so WIN-WIN!
2. Defriend, hide and unlike: We all like a facebook related whinge from time to time about how facebook always changes the rules and doesn’t serve up the things we really want to see. And that’s true to an extent, but there’s also facilities there for you to customise your experience by getting rid of your facebook deadwood by defriending, hiding from newsfeed and unliking. Look, it’s uncomfortable to start with but once you’ve started it’s totally liberating. If you did it all at once, it would definitely take more than one minute, so my strategy is to take action with one or two a day. It may be a page you’ve outgrown (unlike) or a friend that’s facebook presence is leaving you feeling less than positive (hide or unlike depending on how extreme it is) or someone who’s views you find so repugnant you’re actually not sure how you ended up friends in the first place (unlike!).
3. Don’t take it personally: It’s evident that people take a lot of things personally on facebook. Sometimes it’s hard not to. But you do have a choice. If you see an annoying post, just scroll on past and definitely don’t read the comments, they’re sure to be even more annoying, and maybe consider taking a step two if it’s a repeat offence. Also keep in mind that you’re also potentially annoying people, and that’s OK! You don’t have to be all things to all people. I’m more than aware of the irony of this post showing up in your facebook feed and annoying you too. In that case, just use your mouse or finger to click past me and unfollow too. I won’t be offended, honest!
4. Cultivate those things you do love: Love a facebook page or a person? Let them know! These are the relationships on facebook you should be cultivating. Throw them a random like, comment or even a direct message. An out of the blue hello or a message to tell them you love what they do would make their day and make you feel warm and fuzzy at the same time. It will also help ensure you see more of them around your news feed.
5. Enjoy facebook mindfully: Remember when you had to log in to a computer to enjoy facebook? Go old school for awhile. Boil the kettle and pour yourself a tea and sit down and have a read of your favourite pages, groups or what your favourite people got up to today. Social media is absolutely constant and you’ll never really keep up with everything, which can leave us feeling anxious if we dip into it a lot. Slow down your facebook consumption and I promise you’ll enjoy the experience much more!
I’d love to hear how you go if you try any of these, so please drop me a line in the comments. Or if you have any other quick tips to keep facebook and your sanity. I’d love it if you could relate to any of this that you use the buttons below to share it.