Have you heard? Steve Pavlina, the famous personal development blogger, deleted his Facebook account a few weeks ago. He dedicated a whole article to his decision to leave Facebook and on his forums a lot of people criticized that Facebook was only stealing their time.
Are you also dissatisfied with your Facebook experience? You probably don’t have to be. Most of us are not A-list bloggers who have to fight with a ridiculous amount of spam every day (spam was one of the reasons Steve Pavlina left). Most of us don’t have 5000 Facebook friends and a fan page with several thousand fans.
Well, at least I don’t. A few days ago my profile crossed the 400 friends mark and my fan page is being liked by 116 people at the moment (I admit that I neglected my fan page a bit). I know about 60% of my Facebook friends in real life. The rest are mostly people I met through my websites, on other blogs, forums or mastermind groups.
If you’re dissatisfied with your Facebook experience, it’s maybe not because of Facebook itself but because of how you use it. In fact for me Facebook has so many benefits that I can’t imagine to quit it any time soon.
These are the Facebook advantages I benefit from:
Thanks to Facebook I don’t need a huge contact information data base. I got most of my contacts at one place and don’t need to remember or file e-mail addresses. A friend request and you’re connected.
Staying In Touch
Happens very often: I meet somebody at a concert, event or party. We have an interesting conversation. How to stay in touch? Again: Facebook is the simple solution! Even if you forget to share contact information it’s easy to find somebody on Facebook again, especially when people use their real name and a real picture of themselves.
Find Out What The World Is Up To
Reading, commenting and writing status updates is probably the feature that I use most on Facebook. It’s like twitter but less shallow (no 140 character limit) and more interactive (you can post a comment on a status update just as you could post comments on a forum thread).
That makes it a lot easier to pick up on who’s coming to town, who is ill, who is starting a big project, who has published an article and who wants to go to the movies.
Thanks to the event feature on Facebook it’s also easier to find out which interesting events are going to take place. As I have many friends who stage events themselves (a lot of my friends are musicians, actors and other artists) this is very convenient for me. It’s a lot harder for me to catch up with the events of friends who don’t use Facebook.
Very important for me! At the moment Facebook is the biggest traffic source of followtheredqueen.com (about 30%). Of course, if you don’t have anything to promote this won’t play a role in your Facebook usage.
As great as Facebook is there are some pitfalls that you have to be aware of. People with a greater following seem to have more problems in that area but down here at the 400 friends area it’s all running pretty smoothly.
Here are some things that I have found to be convenient when using Facebook:
Cut Out The Whiners And Spammers
Oh, the whiners… It’s funny how many people seem to turn into whiny losers as soon as they turn on their computers. I’m okay with that, I just don’t want to read it.
Fortunately there’s a “hide”-feature in the timeline – so you don’t need to unfriend them if you feel molested.
You can do the same with the people who spam your timeline with updates on their Facebook games, their marketing messages, their inside jokes and every one else whose updates are just not valubale enough to spend your time on.
Turn Off The Chat
No, you actually don’t HAVE to chat when you’re using Facebook. You can just turn it off. For a long time I had it turned on and just didn’t answer most of the requests but that doesn’t work for me anymore. It’s become too much of a distraction for me. So I just leave it off.
Don’t feel obligated to answer all requests and invitations. I only check out the event invitations of the next few days (those which are displayed on the right side) and only when I’ve got the time to attend any events. I generally ignore all game, group, page and application invitations.
Limit Your Facebook Time
I hear a lot of people complain about how Facebook is wasting huge amounts of their time. Well, how much time do you actually spend on Facebook?
I have found that Facebook can indeed waste your time – when you spend a lot of time on it. But you don’t have to! Using Facebook with all its advantages doesn’t mean you need to be online 24/7.
In fact, for me 10 – 15 minutes a day is more than enough to check out status updates, events and messages. When I receive long or more profound mails I obviously need more time but that’s not the fault of Facebook.
If you want to use Facebook in a productive way, use it how productive and smart people use their email account: check it only once or twice per day. Then see whether you still don’t get enough value for your time.
Get A Life
If your use of Facebook becomes addictive, it’s not the fault of Facebook. Why don’t you spend your time on other things? Facebook is a tool and not a substitute for any physical action. No online chat conversation can replace a good talk, sending friend requests can never replace meeting real people, playing Facebook games can’t substitute for making your life more passionate and fun.
Go outside and have fun, share your passions with your friends, create something new, make new experiences, then you can look what the rest of the world has been doing and see where your next adventure could be. Facebook is a great place to share your story. But that means you have to have a story in the first place.