Saturday, March 14, 2009

Preventing Social Network Mind Control: 11 Ways to Spend Less Time on Facebook

Facebook. Everybody knows about it. Just about everybody has an account. And at least a third of these people are passionate enough to be called addicted. The world of social networking is a harsh place and Facebook is its biggest (and most corrupting) player. Don't get me wrong, Facebook is great but so is fitness, intelligence and experience. Here's how to spend less time on the most popular social network:

11. Don't go on the computer as much.

This is probably the best way to stop going Facebook. However, these days, most people can't spare precious computer time so this isn't exactly the most practical thing to do. Still, if you can cut down, do it; it saves electricity, time, your eyes and your body.

10. Eliminate useless notes.

Trust me, I've seen tons and tons of these "What's your stupidness percentage?" or "How Asian are you?" notes that seem to be gaining in popularity among teenagers. I'm just here to inform you that these are not "cool" and no matter how intensely bored you are, this is still hugely, immensely, vastly stupid.

9. Don't add friends that you don't actually know.

OK, I know it's fun having a guy who poses as your favorite baseball player as your friend but searching for these losers on Facebook just to feel all warm and fuzzy inside is lame and again stupid. Also, if somebody decides they want to start adding random people as friends and you're one of the victims, ignore, ignore, ignore. But that's not all; even if you know somebody's name, but don't really have connections with them, don't add them. 200 friends on Facebook isn't a symbol of popularity, it's a symbol of nerdiness.

8. Delete stupid applications.

You probably know what I'm talking about. Or to give you a better idea, I'll list a few examples: Sports Bets (no practically real prizes), Friends for Sale (totally and utterly gay), Mob Wars (reaches a new level of geeky homosexuality) and Bowling Buddies (social network, not games, social network, not games: repeat this until you get it). In other words, think of Facebook as a utility not a site for personal amusement.

7. Find alternatives to Facebook tools.

Sure, there are some good apps out there but every single one has its actually social counterpart. Half the time, you can just call your friends to tell them something (events, school stuff etc.) and for the movie, tv and restaurant reviews, small talk will give you a good idea of what's hot and what's not.
On the other hand, if you can't find something you like, you're bound to come across other websites that host similar services or tools. This will prevent you from getting attracted to other parts of Facebook from a particular application.

6. No email notifications.

Period. Put your foot down and say, "I don't want any more Facebook spam." Updates on every single comment and note and request are pointless and you can waste 5 minutes just deleting all of them while reading them would take a good hour.

5. Go offline.

This is really simple and can help a lot with getting over email addictions too. Going offline blocks anybody from intruding into what you're doing with a craving for company and tells people that if they send you a message you're not responding any time soon so they might not send you a message in the first place and then you have an excuse to not respond.

4. You don't have to share everything.

This is one of the underlying principles in Facebook reduction. If it's not a legitimately good photo, don't post it; if it's not a legitimately good video, don't post it; if it's not a useful piece of information, don't post it; if has no advantages for you or for others, don't post it.

3. Avoid joining groups/causes/events/whatever the hell else just because one of your Friends invited you.

Fitting in is great but fitting in on Facebook is nerdy. I'll make that plain as hell. Plus, if somebody pressures you into joining, "Take off your pants day" or the group "I go slightly out of my way to step on that crunchy looking leaf" consider breaking your connections.

2. Make a Facebook schedule.

I've never liked to go this far but if you are clinically addicted to the point where you're always on, maybe you want to give this a try. Maybe your schedule will be, come home, have a snack, check email for 5 minutes, check Facebook for 10 minutes and do work. But beware: Your schedule should not (excuse me, cannot) include checking for notifications every 5 minutes.

1. Do something.

Life is beautiful. Facebook isn't. There's tons of stuff that you can do other than Facebook all day (yes, it is a verb now). Bring out the ambitious side of you and by ambitious I don't mean creating a new group or event; I mean starting a fundraising effort, running a marathon or heck, starting a company (ok, maybe not).

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