I’m still trying to figure out the best ways to use Facebook and Twitter without letting them be total time-drains, but here’s my current methodology for using them right now:
1. Only check them once a day
That is easily the quickest way to reduce the time you spend on the two sites. The past week or two I’ve been pretty good about it and have only checked them once around 5 PM each day.
If your self-control is lacking, here are a couple things you can do to help prevent yourself from visiting the site the ungodly number of times per day you do right now:
1. Remove Facebook and Twitter from your bookmarks (this makes you have to type in the link)
2. Disable autosave of links in your browser (so you have to type in the full link if you want to visit the site)
I actually don’t do number 2, but number 1 was huge for me. Having to spell out the link makes you more aware of what you are doing, and thus you have a chance to stop yourself.
2. Limit who shows up on your news feeds
I’ve gone to an extreme and removed everybody from my Facebook news stream (sorry guys!). Now I only see if people have commented on my updates.
I was planning to allow news from only my closest friends, but Facebook kept showing dumb updates like who they just became friends with or if they changed their profile, which I could care less about.
Twitter is nice because you don’t have to see any of that. I wish Facebook just let you see status updates.
Yes, this means that I see less of what is going on in the cyberworld. I think I’ll be able to deal with it…
If I want to know what’s going on with someone, I’ll just visit their page and see their status updates, usually a lot later than they actually happened, but I don’t think that’s a big deal.
Better yet, you can always call or meet up with people…texting is probably even better than FBing or tweeting.
In any case, limiting your news feed means less chance of getting sucked into the social media vortex.
3. Use an all-in-one Facebook/Twitter client
Right now I use Hootsuite for posting updates, as I can update both my Facebook and Twitter in one fell swoop.
You can also see your news feeds with it, but it doesn’t show Facebook notifications which is somewhat of a downfall of the product. This forces me to actually go on Facebook.com to see if anyone commented on my stuff.
(If anyone knows of a web-based client that lets you see Facebook notifications, let me know.)
I don’t even go on Twitter.com anymore as I have multiple Twitter accounts, and Hootsuite lets me look at all of them with a couple clicks.
Otherwise I’d have to log-in and out a couple times which I’d rather not do.
4. Delete Your Facebook and Twitter
This is obviously the most extreme way to spend less time on the two sites… I actually went about 6 or 7 months without either until I started SixPrizes.
I wanted to make a Fan Page for the site… you need to have an account to make one… damn you Zuckerberg.
I would probably get rid of my Facebook and Twitter if I wasn’t running a website, but it’s sort of a necessity now. Too many people are using social media right now and I can’t really ignore it.
Doing what I do may not be for you though… I just prefer to limit my time in front of a screen as much as I can.