April 28, 2020 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: The 3 false promises of Facebook

Truth Bomb Tuesday: Has you changed how you’re using social media? For better or worse?

Here’s a rule of thumb I think you should be using for how much time you’re spending on social media right now.

25% less.

That’s what I reckon you should be aiming for. Compared to what you were doing pre-crisis, you should now be doing 25% less.

I reckon the crisis should be giving us all a reason to cut back.

But, if we’re honest, how many of us have actually increased our usage since the crisis began?

We’re spending a lot more time at home? We’ve got to do something to pass the hours right?

Now I’m aware that this might sound hypocritical. I just ran an entire bootcamp over Zoom and Facebook live.

But I’m not talking about that kind of usage.

I’m talking about gap-filler usage. Like flicking through your feed while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or the kids to get out of the bath… or when you not even waiting for anything. Just waiting for inspiration.

I’m not talking about conscious use of social media – like doing a training session or looking for bargains on the different marketplaces.

I’m talking about unconscious use.

Your time is the most precious resource you have. And you don’t have much of it. It’s certainly too precious to waste unconsciously.

Now people might have justifications for why they’re using more social media than they did before the crisis. They want to stay connected. They want to stay informed. They want to be entertained.

But I would argue that these things are the false promises of social media.

If you want connection, send someone particular a message, or give them a call. That’s how you connect with someone. Seeing what they’ve written on their wall, effectively shouting at all of their friends at once, is not real connection.

(I personally think it’s actually worse. You get the illusion of connection, without the satisfaction in your soul that comes with genuine intimacy. It has given us all the unique experience of being utterly alone in a crowded city.)

At the same time, social media is also a terrible way to stay informed. Social media is designed for emotion and opinion. It is definitely not designed to filter fact from fiction. If you’re going to tell me you use social media to stay informed, I’m going to ask you to be honest and recognise that you’re using the totally wrong tool for the job.

And the last false promise is entertainment. There are funny and entertaining things to be found on social media for sure. But a news feed is a terrible way to engage with them.

Have you ever lined up at an extensive buffet, and just wanted to try ‘a little bit of everything’… and then ended up with way more on your plate than you needed, and then you end up feeling totally stuffed?

I think the feed is like this. You have to consume so much micro-bits of information (you brain has to process it one way or the other), that it’s actually exhausting.

If you genuinely want entertainment, do it consciously. Find something awesome and set aside dedicated time to engage with it.

Now, none of this is news. I’ve talked about these false promises before.

But the lockdown has opened up a lot of time in our lives. Social media want’s its cut.

Don’t give in to it.

Set yourself the goal of doing 25% less.

The time you’ve been given is a gift.

Spend it wisely.