Recently I have felt the need to step back from Facebook. I deactivated my account for two weeks, and let me tell you, those were the most relaxing two weeks I’ve experienced in a while.
Unfortunately, Facebook is too convenient to leave permanently. Besides being a great way (and often the only way) to keep up with friends in other cities, Facebook is also an excellent networking tool for independent contractors like myself. Not to mention, Facebook Pages are must-haves for any small business, and I can’t exactly pass up the opportunity to market my wares on the site.
The good news is, however, that I’ve come up with a few easy ways to minimize the “noise” on Facebook and to limit your time-wasting FB activities.
Turn off Chat and Hide Sidebar
If you’re looking for immediate effect, turning off chat (Options > Turn Off Chat) and minimizing the side bar (Hide Sidebar button in bottom right corner) will feel like walking out of a crowded room. You will no longer be forced to see every move of every “friend” you have, and you won’t have to see (or be seen) by people on Facebook chat.
Bookmark A link to your profile, not news feed
Over the last few months, I have felt more and more dissatisfied with Facebook, primarily because of News Feed. Every time you open the site, you are bombarded with information from other people – quotes, funny pictures, status updates and now advertisements. I have often thought that Facebook would not be so bad if the News Feed did not exist.
If you’re like me, you probably have a quick link to Facebook located on your browser’s toolbar or somewhere else convenient. This makes it easier to get to the site in just one click.
Today I discovered a simple little loophole to bypass News Feed. If you bookmark your profile page instead of Facebook’s homepage, every time you open the site, you will go straight to your page. You will not get distracted by all the useless information forced on you in News Feed. This will enable you to use Facebook in a more productive manner.
hide all unnecessary info on your profile
As the owner of an online store (two, in fact), I feel it is important to support other stores by “liking” their pages. I therefore end up “liking” a lot of pages. I don’t, however, think that all my Facebook friends need to see all the pages/bands/movies/etc that I have “liked”. Therefore, I have hidden that information on my profile (About > Edit or Remove > Edit Sections), but I don’t have to “unlike” a page to do so.
keep friends to a minimum
Every so often I go through my friends list and weed out those people I have only met once (or not at all) or can’t recall what they look like. This can get frustrating and time consuming, but I still think it is worth the effort.
turn off notifications from events and pages
If you respond “yes” or even “maybe” to an event, you are automatically signed up to receive notifications whenever that event is modified or someone writes something on the wall. Try to make a habit of immediately turning off notifications (Event page > Settings Wheel at top right corner > Turn off Notifications) upon responding to the event. You can also do this for pages and people.
turn off email notifications
This was one of the first things I did when I joined Facebook. Nobody wants a million spammy emails in their inbox. Turn them off so Facebook won’t send you an email every time someone tags you in a post (Privacy Shortcuts in top right corner > See More Settings > Notifications > Email > Edit).
add phone notifications for Personal messages
This may seem a little backwards for people trying to keep Facebook out of their lives, but for those people who don’t check (or don’t want to check) Facebook every day, adding push notifications could be the solution. There are so many people who use Facebook as their primary method of communication (above email even) that you may get left in the dark if you don’t check Facebook daily (or several times a day). This is where receiving notifications for important things such as Personal Messages could be useful. To do this on the iPhone, you must load the Facebook App, select the sidebar, scroll to the bottom, select Account Settings > Notifications > Mobile Push. You will also have to go back to your iPhone home screen, select Settings > Notifications > Facebook > Notification Center.
disallow wall posts
Everybody has that one friend who is a little unpredictable. It is for this reason (and the idea that it’s my timeline so I’d like to choose what goes on it) that I have disabled all wall posts on my timeline. I still allow myself to be tagged in posts or photos, and friends can comment on anything I post on my timeline. I figure if there is something a friend needs to say to me personally, they can either text me or send it in a personal message. There is no need for the entire world to be privy to my conversations.
This is Facebook, not Twitter. Don’t over share. Don’t spam your friends with stupid pictures of cats or bunnies or whatever. Try to make good choices about the things you post. If you write a sob story as your status every other week, people aren’t going to take you seriously as a professional. Your Facebook friends don’t need to know what’s going on in your private life.
Don’t use the “sign in with Facebook” option
I discovered when I deactivated my account recently, how brilliantly Facebook has ensnared us. It’s so easy to click that “sign in with Facebook” button every time you sign up for a new site, but keep in mind that with each new site added, you are allowing another group access to the information you post on Facebook. Not to mention, if you ever decide to deactivate your account, you will lose all of your login info on every site you’ve signed up with.