I spent a hair over six hours on social media last week, which is considerably more extensive than usual courtesy of the extra time spent losing my mind over Riverdale with friends. And I used to think my approach to managing Facebook so it didn’t eat all my time was pretty goddamn tight. Then I read this post on Lifehacker about unfollowing everyone on your friends list to transform the default feed into a desolate wasteland and I was all, holy fuck, that’s genius.
I haven’t quite gone scorched earth yet, but did elect to get really, really aggressive. Yesterday I opened up the new Newsfeed Preference system which makes it far, far easier to see who you’re actively following and began to really, really ask myself if everyone on that list was posting stuff that I either a) wanted to engage with on a daily basis, or b) actually cared about on a daily basis.
An hour later, my default feed only shows content from twenty-four friends, my two favourite authors, one of Australia’s best reviewers, two family members, the Facebook group we use to organise my weekly Superhero game, the Facebook page for my local cafe, and the two groups I have to follow for uni purposes.
Everyone else is curated into lists – gaming friends, writer friends, editors, family members – that I check into at specific times but don’t really care to see on a daily basis. Or, you know, I’ll search for them when I want to see what they’re up to or I have something to post to their wall, in much the same way I’ve done for the bulk of the people I know for the last three years.
Now, I’ll admit makes Facebook spectacularly dull. Instead of a rotating stream of new content, I can watch a post about my friends sitting in a bar or getting the PLR done at the top of my feed for a half-hour or more regardless of how many times I hit refresh. About half the people I’m following only post/like/comment on something three or four times a day.
But that’s good. I’m after dull. Facebook has its own ideas about how it should be used, but what I’m after is a steady stream of information from people I really, really care about rather than a deluge of information that I’m half-interested in.
I’ll be trailing it for the next month to see how it goes, but over the last eighteen hours or so the pace has switched from ongoing distraction to remarkably pleasant way of catching up with people.
Which, all in all, makes it easier to get back to writing.