If you are anything like me, you scroll through your Facebook feed and either roll your eyes or laugh in disgust at posts your quote unquote friends make. “Friends” has become a rather blasé word over the past five years with the rise of social media. Went to a party in college and met your friend’s brother’s cousin? Friended. Held that one summer job where you mowed lawns with that toothless dude for $5 bucks an hour? Friended. Your college professors want to stay in touch after you graduate? Friended… x6.
Five years later, you’re up to 1,000 friends. Congratulations! But how many of those do you actually communicate with on a regular basis or truly care about? 20? 30? I highly doubt you’re feeling the love for them all, but instead of finding a way to manage all that excess information, most people just let it keep on coming.
And then they complain.
And it keeps on coming.
And they keep complaining.
And it keeps on coming.
On Facebook, I do not care about your baby daddy cheating on you with the shorty at the club.
On Twitter, I could deal without the corny hashtags about Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga.
On Instagram, I do not want to see your feet. I just don’t.
(Okay, now I’m complaining…)
Listen, I’m the biggest advocate for freedom of speech, especially with regard to social media. A lot of people will offer their opinions about the best ways to use certain channels or how to get the most out of the online experience. Social media should be fun. It’s supposed to be personal. It’s supposed to help you connect with people you lost touch with or meet new people. Do what you like, post what you feel, chat with anyone you wish (at least, anyone you wish who wants to chat with you, too).
Here are a couple things I have started to do to better manage my online content:
1) Select certain times of the day to sign in and certain times to disconnect. This may be news to some, but the world functioned just fine before social media. You don’t have to check your Facebook feed every hour. Take some time each night to turn your phone and tablet off and read a good hard copy book outside on the front porch. Consider drinking a glass of wine to go with it.
2) Curate lists. Twitter was doing this long before Facebook but both have pretty good systems now. Take a half hour, go through your friends and place them into lists: close friends, co-workers, friends that are strangers. Name the lists whatever you want. Now when you sign in, instead of going through a feed of 1,000 people, you just go through each list that consist of 20-30 people. Talk about time management!
3) If someone’s content isn’t relevant to you, delete. Unless it is a potential employer or your mom, I wouldn’t be too worried about offending someone by unfollowing or de-friending. It’s social media – they will be just fine without your connection. Most won’t even notice. Size your network down to people that are important to you and you will have a much more enjoyable experience.
Follow these tips and I think you’ll maintain a healthy level of sanity in your social media activity.