New Year, New Facebook

Facebook… sigh. I don’t think I’ve ever had a more intense love-hate relationship than that I have with Facebook. Pregnancy comes in close. I wasn’t a very good pregnant person and it tried to kill me at least once. I don’t think Facebook has tried to kill me yet, but it’s definitely thinking about it.

I want to like Facebook. I don’t want it to cause me stress and annoy the piss out of me as often as it does. I believe, in theory, that Facebook can actually bring something positive to our lives. It can connect people, share stories, motivate, encourage, inspire, market and build community. But yet, so often, it does all of the opposite.

My husband works with computers and he always says that ‘computers only do what we tell them to do.’ (I disagree with him; my computer often doesn’t do what I want it to.) While I know it’s easy to do, I encourage you to stop thinking of Facebook as being the evil. The problem with Facebook is that we are doing it wrong.

I want to re-evaluate my Facebook life this year and see if I can figure out how to use it to actually add to my ‘real’ life, without accepting that there will be ways in which it will inherently also subtract. I am going to rethink what role is serves for me and see if I can make changes to allow it to fill more of my needs. Here is the plan:

Purge, Purge, Purge

I am a HUGE fan of purging. Quite frankly, I don’t think people purge enough. I bet if you think about it, a good 70-80% of your problems could be solved by purging, be it a thought, feeling, memory, thing or person. In the words of Johnny Mercer & The Pied Pipers, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.”

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I mean, really… read those words. Who doesn’t love a cathartic release?! This step starts with purge in the noun form- ‘an abrupt or violent removal of a group of people from an organization or place’. You are going to have to make some serious cuts in 3 areas: ‘friends’, groups and pages. This is a time to be brutal.

I’m about to give you a gift. Listen carefully.

You do not have to be Facebook friends with everyone you have ever met.

Did I just blown your mind?? I’m going to go as far as to say that you don’t even have to be Facebook friends with everyone that you actually like. Unfriending someone on Facebook is not equivalent to breaking up with them. You can totally work harmoniously along side a person, or have a friendly conversation at weekly play dates with another person, without being their Facebook friend. You can also still be biologically related, enjoying holidays and birthdays together, without being Facebook friends.

  • Why do you use Facebook?
  • What purpose does it serve in your life?

Your answers to these questions may not be the same as everyone who is on your Facebook Friends list. If you don’t use it in the same way or for the same purpose, does it make sense to use it together? What I enjoy most about Facebook is seeing photos of family & friends and learning what is going on in their daily lives. I want Facebook to tell me the things that a friend or loved one would share if there were to write me a letter. You know, if people still wrote letters. On paper. With stamps.

There are people who I know in my real life that don’t use Facebook for this purpose. (They shall remain nameless to protect the not-so-innocent.) They may not enjoy sharing cute pictures of their kids or details about their lives on Facebook. Instead, Facebook may serve as an outlet for frequent political rantings discourse or solely as a forum for marketing their business(es).

Let me be clear… I’m not saying these people are using Facebook incorrectly. Facebook has been designed as a great forum for both discussion/debate and marketing. I’m not judging anyone’s social media life or decision to use it for these purposes. All I’m saying is that we don’t provide for each other what we each hope to get from social media. Their Facebook profile does not help facilitate the purpose for which I use Facebook; I am likely not going to help fulfill their needs with my posts either.

Don’t think about it as unfriending someone. You can still be their friend in real life. Instead, you are choosing to eliminate their Facebook profile from your Facebook feed because they do not share the type of posts that you would like to see.

Let me provide you with some motivation to make these difficult calls & to press that ‘Unfriend’ button.

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Now, there may be some people in your life who you feel you cannot unfriend but would rather not see their posts. I’ll tell you what to do with them shortly.

It’s time for a Come-To-Jesus talk with your Friends List

I advocate for a bi-annual review of your Friends List. About twice a year I have a ‘CTJ’ (Come to Jesus) talk with my Friends List. I have found that I am generally pretty happy with around 100 friends. That seems to be enough to include my family and close friends, but also people who I enjoy being connected with. I don’t hold myself to that number, but more than once I found that after purging people who didn’t meet my ‘criteria’, it left exactly 100 friends.

I am generally not a fan of UrbanDictionary.com, but this definition is on point.

I am generally not a fan of UrbanDictionary.com, but this definition is on point.

What is my ‘friend’s list’ criteria? I’m glad you asked. I like to be Facebook friends with:

  • Family (for the most part)
  • Friends who I see or talk to regularly
  • Friends who I miss and wish I could see/talk to more
  • People who regularly post things that interest me, make me smile or laugh or that motivate or inspire me
  • People who I became friends with when I had 400+ friends simply because we kinda-sorta know each other or they know someone who I know, but we really do have many things in common, like kids who are the same age, and therefore their posts are similar to mine or are relevant in my life
  • And (i’ll be honest here) people who don’t really bring posts to the table that interest me but who ‘like’ or comment regularly on my posts and therefore seem to be interested in me

That feels like a good list of guidelines for me. If you use Facebook for work/business, your criteria might be slightly different. If you consider that being a SAHM is my work, then you could say that I do include associates in the same industry who share relevant work-related posts, such as links to kids crafts and funny memes about coffee.

When doing a BIG purge, I do usually share a post beforehand that goes a little something like this:

I have decided to change how I use Facebook and will be pruning down my Friends List to include Family only. I hope that no one takes this personally; please do not be offended if I ‘unfriend’ you. I need a Facebook change!

Now, this isn’t exactly true… because I do have friends on my list, but I think that this helps to ease any offense that others may feel. I truly do not mean to offend anyone and I certainly don’t want to enter into any argument about what one should or shouldn’t post on Facebook, especially if it’s politically motivated. It honestly has little to do with everyone else. It’s totally a ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ thing.

LEAVE MOST OF YOUR GROUPS

Hey you… yes, I’m talking to you… you in 104 LLR groups… really?! You need to keep reading.

I am a member of 14 groups, 4 of which I created and manage for graphic design work I do, my Norwex business and one for local SAHMs. My rule of thumb for groups is if a group you are a member of actually met in person for a monthly meeting and you would not regularly attend, you need to leave the group. With that said, if I had a calendar that included 14 standing monthly meetings I would be writing a blog post about clearing ones’ calendar. I feel like 14 is a few too many, but I do regularly post in these groups and/or read their posts.

I asked my Facebook friends (all 100 of them) how many groups they were in The general response was ‘too many’. Everyone that shared an exact number had over 100. Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. Does this sound like your 147 groups?

These groups are clogging your feed, man. The goal is to recreate your Facebook so that you see what you want to see. I know that you can be part of a group but ‘unfollow’ it and turn off notifications, but unless you are going to visit the group at least a couple times a month, why stay in it at all?? In all likelihood you will probably be able to rejoin the group in the future if it suddenly becomes important to your daily life, but if it isn’t now, you don’t need it. Again, the word of the day is PURGE. If leaving all of those irrelevant groups doesn’t give you a cathartic release, then by all means, rejoin.

If a group you are a member of actually met in person for a monthly meeting and you would not regularly attend, you need to leave the group.

While you are cleaning up your Groups, go ahead and set some Favorite Groups. This will help ensure that you see posts from groups that are most important to you. Your favorite groups should be ones that you are an administrator for, post in regularly or read daily.

REVIEW LIKED PAGES

Facebook has made this step pretty easy for us.

Disclaimer: These instructions are accurate as of the day I am writing this post. Facebook will likely move & change everything tomorrow. Sorry.

A Facebook page is a public profile specifically created for businesses, brands, celebrities, causes, and other organizations. They are sort of like commercials; they market to you. Unlike commercials, however, Facebook allows these brands to collect information about who sees their page posts such as your age, gender and city. If the ‘big brother’ thing bothers you, you should probably start unliking some pages… or better yet, deactivate your Facebook account. But even if that doesn’t bother you, I recommend taking a couple minutes to make sure that you actually like the products or brands that Facebook thinks you do.

When you open your Facebook account on a computer (not sure about phones), you can click on ‘Pages’ on the left side of the screen and then you will be given the option to ‘Review Liked Pages’.

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When I went through my review I noticed Pages ‘liked’ that were not only NOT relevant to my life (such as Michelin Tires… really?? Do I strike you as a tire buff?), but also companies/brands that I’m actually fundamentally in disagreement with, such as Johnson & Johnson and Bath & Body Works. We try our very hardest to never use products that contain phthalates on our bodies. Because of my concerns about ingredients that these two companies use in their products, we will not purchase them. I also believe that these ingredients/products should be banned in the US, but that’s a post for another day.

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In total, I removed 124 pages from my ‘Like’ list. This will help my Facebook clean-up in two ways: I should no longer see posts from Pages that I dislike, but I should also now have a better chance at seeing posts from Pages that I do actually like. I should probably do myself (and my health) a favor an Unlike Domino’s… but I do love those $5.99 pizza offers!

Prioritize Who You See First

Your next step is to set your news feed preferences with 4 easy steps. Click on the little drop down arrow on the top right of your homepage and select ‘News Feed Preferences’. This will walk you through prioritizing who you see first (friends & pages), unfollowing those who you do not wish to see on your feed (those friends/family who we talked about earlier that you feel you can’t unfriend), reconnecting with those who you have unfollowed in the past but now would like to see, and discovering pages that match your interests.

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I really appreciated the opportunity to select up to 30 friends & Pages to prioritize. You will have to decide who makes it to your Top 30 list and why. I selected most of my family members and a couple pages who I really, really like. My favorite pages on Facebook are:

  • Fun, Cheap or Free – Great tips on writing a solid budget and sticking to it! The author, Jordan Page, is my mom-crush. She has 5 kids (under 7 or 8, I believe) and she actually gets dressed and puts on make-up everyday. She truly inspires me to be a better SAHM.
  • Hip2Save– I find most of my shopping deals from Collin at Hip2Save.
  • 5-Minute Crafts– Awesome short videos of kids crafts, household tips and life hacks.
  • imomsohard– If you don’t want to be BFFs with Kristin & Jenn, then I don’t want to be friends with you. Their videos should be required viewing for all moms. You can credit all of my sanity to imomsohard.
  • Krokotak– Cute crafts for the kiddos.

ENJOY Your New Facebook life

Congratulations! Your new Facebook life is waiting for your enjoyment! Hopefully now you will see all the posts, photos and videos that are relevant to your life and important to you, and none of the other crap. Remember, “you’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.”

I hope these steps help improve your social media life. I’m really crossing my fingers that it helps mine!

 

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