Social media is designed to suck you in.
Why else would they work so hard to build and pay to support such a behemoth platform unless they were making loads of money? And how do you think they make their money?
Facebook is specifically designed to keep you scrolling through your news feed so that you see more ads.
You don’t like scrolling through endlessly, but you do it anyway because your brain can’t help it. Facebook knows this. It’s making billions of dollars by taking advantage of you.
But Facebook can be invaluable depending on how you use it.
For example, I ask a question every day on Facebook. I have loved the additional connection I get from the interactions I have reading and replying to answers I get.
The other benefit of Facebook is groups. I am part of multiple groups that help me become a better writer and blogger. I created a group for a fun side hustle. In the future, I plan to create groups and maybe even ads to help me grow the online coaching business that I’m currently working on.
So if Facebook is useful enough that it’s not worth getting rid of, how can we use it more intentionally?
Here are two simple tricks I’ve employed to allow me to utilize Facebook to connect with people without getting sucked in.
Keep in mind that these will only work for the desktop version of the app. If you want help with becoming more purposeful in the mobile version, well, the easiest answer is to delete the app. I’ve never downloaded the Facebook app onto my phone, and for good reason.
If you really want to make social media work for you instead of the other way around, then it won’t matter to you if have to use a computer to access it.
News Feed Eradicator for Facebook
This resource is fantastic. With this easy to use Google Chrome extension, your news feed is gone. Here is what Facebook looks like for me now:
Screenshot by author
I especially like the motivational quote that replaces my feed.
I absolutely love this tool. After over 6 months of using it, I am much more productive. I can actually use Facebook for business and to connect with people, rather than getting sucked into it.
I used to log out of Facebook and change my password to something random so it would be a hassle to reset my password and log in again.
That worked for a while until I started asking my daily questions. I loved the connections I was making with old friends and wanted a way to make that happen without getting sucked into the endless news feed.
This extension was the perfect solution to my problem.
One exception to using this extension is when you do want to check up on your friends. Once a week or so I will enter the extensions page on Chome and turn News Feed Eradicator off. I then take a few minutes to scroll through Facebook to see if I missed any engagements or new babies.
News Feed Eradicator for Facebook is one of the best productivity tools I’ve ever used. Check out the extension on the Chrome Web Store here.
Updating Your Notification Preferences
I only discovered this one about 20 minutes ago. I don’t know why I didn’t make this change sooner, but I have a feeling it will be life-changing.
The biggest problem I’ve found with News Feed Eradicator for Facebook is that your notifications can still distract you.
If you’re like me, that notification icon bothers you and you just have to check it.
The worst part about checking notifications is that most of them were for things that I didn’t care about. The new “Fundraisers” feature seemed to be a top offender. But before that, I would get distracted by all sorts of group notifications as well.
With this simple change, however, I only see the notifications that I care to get. I probably sound like an awful person for hiding notifications about fundraisers. But I don’t donate to them because I feel that I can better use my time and money for other purposes, at least for now.
Let alone the fact that you never know how much you can trust the credibility of a sponsor of a fundraiser, but I digress.
Modifying your notification preferences is pretty simple. First, click on the down arrow at the top right of the page and select “Settings”:
On the left panel, you will see all the different settings you can modify. You will want to select “Notifications”:
And from there click on “Edit” at the far right of the very first option titled “On Facebook”:
From there you’ll see all the different options for receiving notifications on Facebook, with the ability to modify them to your heart’s content. I turned nearly everything off except for tags and maybe a few other random things.
Now, whenever I access Facebook, I don’t have to get distracted by having to sort through a news feed or a bunch of notifications for things that don’t really matter.
Using Social Media with Intentionality.
So much of what we do these days is a result of large corporations, like Facebook, taking advantage of our psychology. They are profiting from our lack of understanding of our brains.
The negative effects of social media use can be reversed if we utilize the right resources to regain control of our own brains.
After taking advantage of these resources, I’ve been able to become more intentional with my rest time. Whenever I take breaks now, I’m using that time to rest, instead of pseudo-resting by scrolling through Facebook.
Which just ends up making me feel less rested and more frustrated anyway.
More importantly, though, I can make social media work for me and my productivity instead of against me.
What will you get done with social media by using it more intentionally?
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