Do you spend way too much time on Facebook? I know I have. What do you think is the average amount of time we spend each day browsing its never ending pages? The answer may surprise you:
That’s the average amount of time, the company said, that users spend each day on its Facebook, Instagram and Messenger platforms (and that’s not counting the popular messaging app WhatsApp).
Maybe that doesn’t sound like so much. But there are only 24 hours in a day, and the average person sleeps for 8.8 of them. That means more than one-sixteenth of the average user’s waking time is spent on Facebook.” — nytimes.com
People talk about being “addicted” to Facebook so they take “fasts” from it, delete their FB app, or deactivate their account. But there’s almost always one thing in common between all these approaches:
They just don’t seem to work long term. Most people come back to Facebook eventually.
So what’s the solution? We talk about decluttering physical things all the time, but we need to “declutter” our Facebook accounts just as much as we do our closets and bookshelves.
If we really want to spend less time just “killing time” on Facebook and getting sucked into useless newsfeed browsing, then the site needs to be less of a “never-ending info stream.” Decluttering your Facebook is the key to using it for meaningful interaction with the people, pages, and groups that matter most to you.
How do you declutter your Facebook? Follow these 6 steps:
1- Unfollow most people, but don’t unfriend them. Less people followed equals a smaller newsfeed. Ask yourself: have I really interacted with this person in the last year? Does following them add to my life or take away from it? Do I really know them, or are they my brother’s friend’s sister’s cousin whom I’ve never met? Try following only the people that you really interact with in real life and see if your newsfeed gets a little less cluttered. There’s a few reasons for choosing to unfollow vs. unfriend:
- Many people take it personally when they realize they’ve been unfriended.
- You may see someone in person and have to explain why you unfriended them. Or, being in a conversation with someone can be awkward if you both know that you unfriended them, but neither of you are bringing it up.
- It minimizes drama. (Skip a status update along the lines of “I’m unfriending x number of people on Monday, so if you’re still my FB friend on Tuesday, we’re true friends.”)
2- Go through the pages that you’ve liked/followed and ask yourself: do I still enjoy this band/restaurant/clothing company, etc.? Does following this page add value to my newsfeed? Do they post content that I find interesting? If not, unlike or unfollow the page. When I looked through the Facebook pages that I’d “liked,” I realized that some were bands that I no longer listened to, one was a bakery I’d never been to, etc.- things that didn’t fit my life right now.
3- Go through the “events” that you’ve been invited to and make a decision about whether or not you’re going. Then RSVP so that you don’t get reminders about events you aren’t interested in. This “remove me from the guest list” option on an event’s page is helpful:
4- Go through the “groups” that you are a member of. Ask yourself: Does being a member of this group add value to my newsfeed? Do group members post content that I find interesting, helpful, or funny? If the answer to these questions are “no,” it may be time to leave the group.
- If for whatever reason there are groups that you cannot leave, turn off notifications for the group so that you aren’t receiving alerts of new posts.
- Turn off notifications for all but your favorite groups that you actually interact with.
5- Remove the majority of your Facebook games. Identify your favorites and delete the rest. Delete ones that tempt you to spend money.
6- Go into your Facebook settings and turn off “email notifications” of new info.
Once you complete these steps, the constant notifications on your phone are gone. You won’t get a daily stream of emails letting you know that someone has commented on something. The “never-ending info stream” will be greatly reduced (my newsfeed went from having an average of 235 new items at a time to 60). When you declutter your Facebook, it becomes a tool that you use in meaningful ways instead of something that steals (at least) 50 minutes of your time each day.
What’s your favorite way to simplify your social media? Please share below!
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