Monday, May 20, 2013

Facebook: Content Overload

When Facebook first launched, it was merely profile pages where users could update their personal information and link with friends.  Then it added the ability to post status updates and pictures, which led to users logging in more frequently to see what their friends were doing.  Now it is a flurry of statuses, pictures, ads, and chaos.  Somehow I used to be able to feel fully caught up on the Facebook world in about 5 or 10 minutes.  Nowadays, I catch myself spending 30 minutes or longer, browsing largely unimportant content, and content from people I might no longer even recognize if I passed on the street because I haven't seen them in real life in so long.

While Facebook has its pros, and I love the ability to see pictures and updates from family members and close friends who live far away, I have been giving some thought to my personal Facebook strategy.  Frankly, I am wasting far too much time on the website.  Time that is spent on virtual friendships is time that is lost from real life, genuine friendships.

So - how can I get this situation back under control?  I have thought about (and tried) going cold turkey.  But honestly, that usually ends after about a day.  I've also tried limiting myself to logging in only once a day so that it does not drain my productivity.  But then I get stuck at a long traffic light, am bored, and that idea goes out the window.

The best strategy that I have found is to use the "hide" feature in the News Feed.  By allowing only "important updates" from a large number of friends, I am able to receive the most important updates, and updates from people I am closest with, rather than a ton of content that is not valuable and sucks up my time.

It is crazy to think that a social media platform that did not even exist ten years ago has infiltrated our lives in such a profound way.  I never thought I would need a "strategy" around how to manage my use of the site.  It also makes me realize how important the site is to advertisers, because we are all logged in so frequently and for such a large amount of time.  Compared to than buying billboards on roads where we may never read them, or buying ad space in a newspaper where readership is down, Facebook is prime real estate.

I'm curious how other people manage their Facebook lives.  Are others concerned about being as efficient as possible in gathering important updates, but screening out the rest?

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