Need to make room in your schedule for the more important things in life like family, faith, and intellectually beneficial hobbies? These tips here are ways I’ve learned to make sure Facebook doesn’t take up more time than it’s worth.
- Consecrate your Facebook. By using a Marian consecration prayer and applying it to your social media, naming a patron saint for your FB account, and/or otherwise praying to Our Lord over it, you can take an important first step in putting things in perspective and opening yourself to heavenly inspirations you can add to these tips and that will help you make sure everything in your account glorifies the Creator. As you work with the Holy Spirit on your account rather than by yourself, God’s grace will do the rest and help you to use social media as a tool and not a toy, to take advantage of opportunities to evangelize, and to use your account responsibly to praise God and bless your loved ones so that instead of being a distraction from the important things in life it will serve as an instrument for fulfilling your life duties.
- Unfollow pages, friends, and groups you don’t absolutely need to be hearing from in your news feed. If you’re someone like me who loves to friend everyone you’ve ever known, like every page you want to show support for, and join every group you admire, but don’t want to have to be frantically catching up on the home page every five minutes, then it may be time to start unfollowing some people and things. Don’t worry, no one will receive a notification that you aren’t following them anymore (I tested that.) so no one’s going to get insulted. It’s your private business. A true friend will be the first to understand and applaud you if you need to start lessening your Facebook time, anyway. By unfollowing, you’ll still have your thumbs up on that awesome page you saw, you’ll still be a member of that group that has such a great cause, and you’ll still be friends with that super amazing person, but you won’t have to deal with hundreds of new posts every day. Plus if you ever have a bunch of time to kill and not many other ways to kill it, you can use your Facebook search bar or favorites list to start reading posts from some of those pages, friends, and groups directly from their timelines and see what’s up. There are also many other ways to keep up with your favorite people and organizations besides via Facebook (phones, emails, Skype, newsletters, other social media accounts of yours).
- Take advantage of that options arrow in the upper right corner of each post in your news feed. Let’s say you’ve decided to keep following this young teen named “Mary Jane” because she’s going through some tough times and you wanna keep yourself posted (pun intended) in every possible way, but she’s constantly sharing posts from her favorite movie “Attack of the Aliens From Planet Zuigli”‘s page and you don’t want stuff from that page cluttering up your news feed since it has nothing to do with her struggles anyway. You can click the options arrow in one of those shared posts and select “Hide all from Attack of the Aliens From Planet Zuigli”. There. Now you’ll won’t see posts from that movie anymore but you can still hear everything else Mary Jane has to say.
- Adjust your notifications settings. Select the notifications Earth symbol and click “Settings” in the upper right corner of the little screen that pops out. There you can look at all the things you’re currently able to receive notifications for and start turning off the ones you don’t need.
- Take a vacation. If you don’t want to keep deactivating and reactivating your account but want to take a break, you can simply post something like “Taking a break from Facebook for (how long you’re planning on taking your break). God bless you and goodbye!” You don’t have to give a reason either if you don’t want to. There’s nothing odd about this, because lots of people do it for various reasons with or without saying why (vacations in low internet areas, Lenten sacrifice, New Year resolutions, illness or injury, addiction breaking, visitors from out of town, tasks that require undivided attention, grounded minor, business trips, etc.). Those who truly care about you will understand and not pry. You can even post another statement if you decide to prolong your break or take another shortly after.
- Go on a quest for hobbies. Reading, writing, art, sports, scouts, apostolates…. The possibilities are endless. Not only will additional hobbies help make you a better person and serve as a competing interest so you don’t spend as much time on FB, but finding just the right hobbie(s) will also give you more and more interesting post ideas.
- Make social media truly social. Instead of being something that takes you away from your friends and family, make Facebook something that takes you to them.When you see a hilarious picture in your news feed, don’t keep the laughs all to yourself. Turn around and see if there’s a loved one nearby who will enjoy it as much as you did and show it to him/her, or maybe call out for a specific someone. Make Facebook a thing you can bond over with someone in person.
- Pray. Make Facebooking responsibly and for God’s glory one of your prayer intentions in your daily Rosary, assistance at Sunday Mass, and/or community Bible study/prayer group meeting. There could be few better tips for reforming a part of your life than to take it up in prayer. It is in God’s grace that you will find all the wisdom, courage, temperance, and prudence you’ll ever need.
- Ask for accountability. If it’s really a problem, you may wish to take someone you’re really close to into your confidence to tell them you have a problem with irresponsible Facebooking and ask their help. It would also be an excellent idea to take advantage of the Sacrament of Confession for all the accountability and counseling and spiritual grace you need to really nip that particular vice of yours in the bud.
- Be kind to yourself. It’s a well known fact that you can’t win a battle if you become overly negative about it. When the Scriptures tell us to love our neighbor as ourselves, it’s only reasonable to conclude that we must first love ourselves or else we won’t be able to love our neighbor very much. You are such a precious creature that the God of everything would’ve gladly endured His whole Earthly life and Passion for just you if necessary! Cut yourself some slack. If you really think about it, I think you’ll agree with me that it’s impossible that any Facebooker on Earth could claim to not have any kind of a problem with how he/she manages his/her FB account. Temptation wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t both tempting and understandable. Even if you did have the worst addiction to Facebook in the world (and that would be a pretty unbelievable claim to make), there are MUCH worse things you could be addicted to. Start building yourself up if you notice you’re tearing yourself down. After all, if you’re a baptized child of the omnipotent God it would be an insult to Him to say He hasn’t made you into a really awesome person since then.
God bless you!