So I just got back from my weekly Facebook Anonymous meeting. It's kind of like AA for people on Facebook. You stand up and you say, “Hi, my name is Brian Basilico and I'm addicted to Facebook.” I'm just kidding. But I really think we need to start a group like that. When did Facebook get so angry, divisive and noisy? When I first started years ago, it was a lot of fun. It was like connecting with your friends and wishing people a happy birthday and all that kind of stuff. Now, it's like every time you tune into Facebook, there's a little bit of fun, but it's also kind of like slowing down on the freeway to look at the car crash because people are imploding. There are arguments. There are all kinds of things going on.
Today I want to give you some advice on things that you can do to kind of help you get your arms around it, because I still think there's value in Facebook and it certainly is still a great place to promote your business. I'm not going to get into that today. I'm just going to talk about things that you can do to make your Facebook experience more enjoyable.
Turn Off Email Notifications
So one of the first things you can do is turn off email notifications. The only notifications that I've got set up right now are when people mention me in a post, in case I miss it because I've got thousands of friends and it's really easy to miss some of that stuff. But you can have Facebook notifications from groups, from everything. So really start to kind of scale back what it is that you're getting in your email, because all that does is say, “Hey, jump over to Facebook and do something.”
The other thing you want to do when you jump on Facebook, is you have this burning desire to go look at all the post comments. There are notifications at the top and you see you've got 10, 12, 15 interactions. Well, a lot of times, it's just stuff that you've either commented on or something and it really has nothing to do with you. So you might want to avoid commenting on things that don't necessarily have anything to do with you. It's the same thing with messages; you can get the same notifications on messages and it tends to be a distraction.
The other thing that you want to turn off is group notifications. You can easily get sucked into commenting on a group and then you get thousands of notifications of what people are posting or that this person was added to the group and so on. Here's another quick tip: Never ever add somebody to your group without asking their permission first and vice versa. When people do that to me, I immediately leave. You should ask someone, “Is it okay if I add you to this group?” I had somebody from a competitive company add me to their group. What am I going to bring to them? That I'm better than them? That I'm worse than them? What's the point? But what they're trying to do is use your influence to get more people to say, “Yeah, I want to join this group.”
Avoid Quizzes & Questions
The other thing you want to do is avoid a handful of things. First and foremost, avoid those quiz links: “10 out of 20 people can't guess these bands.” One of the problems with those is a lot of times, they will add a piece of code to your Facebook or an app and it starts to collect data on you and some of it can be malicious. The other thing that people do on Facebook a lot is asking questions, that seems to be the latest and great thing, “What's your favorite color?” “If you had to, would you give up the internet for a week or would you give up bagels?” It's like, who cares? But sometimes you get sucked into those things and then what happens is as soon as you put in a post or put in a comment on that post, you end up getting all these notifications saying, well, this person commented and this person commented. Who cares? It's a big distraction.
The other thing that's nasty is politics. Now, the three things I say all the time to avoid is politics, religion, and sex. When they say sex, I don't mean the act, I mean bashing women, bashing men, all that kind of stuff because you're bound to piss off 50% of your audience. But one of the biggest things that have happened over the last probably 12 years is this very divisive tone that comes on Facebook about politics. You're either targeted left or you're targeted right or it just turns into this giant mess.
Now, if you post anything opposing on a post, there are a lot of people out there who are trolls who just basically go through these things looking for people that disagree with them and then start these arguments. I don't care what side you're on. You can spend hours going back and forth and back and forth and it eats up a lot of time, and it really accomplishes nothing because nobody ever changes anybody's mind on Facebook. It doesn't matter which political argument it is, whether it's about things that have happened in the news, political candidates, things that are going on; it just is an exercise in futility.
Yeah, sometimes you get angry, or just want to vent, and I understand that's something that you want to do on Facebook. But the problem is the minute you vent, there's somebody out there waiting to contradict what you said or to comment and start an argument. There have been times when I posted things and these trolls would comment and just start picking on my friends. These could be friends of mine that I went to high school, people that I know, like and trust, but they literally start getting into fights and it's like, “Stop it.” There are times where I just tell these people, “Stop it.” There's been a handful of times where I've had to delete comments and ultimately unfriend people because that's all they do. They come in and they just beat people up. So try to avoid that as much as you can.
The other thing about the politics side is the “fake news” thing. There are conspiracy theories and there are so many things that are mega left-leaning and mega right-leaning. They are very good at writing divisive headlines and it will suck you in. When I see something like that, I think, “Well, is this real news? Does this relate to anything legit?” So I go to a website called Snopes.com and you can put in the title and it will tell you whether it's true, false or unfounded, but that's a rabbit hole. It's something you get sucked into. Even if you did find out it was a fake story, unless it's somebody you absolutely love who got stuck into some bad stuff, the minute you post it, it gets back into the troll fight: “But what about this point?” No, just leave it alone.
The other thing is that there are certain people who are business cohorts and they're friends, and they share a lot of this fake news or this ancillary information which just hurts your brain. So what you have to do is just hide those posts. Don't unfollow those people, just hide posts that you don't want to see on Facebook, so you will eventually stop seeing those types of things. For example, if you can tell that article is shared from a fake or non-reputable website, just hide it. That tells Facebook, I want nothing from a fake website from this particular person. I don't mind their Facebook lives. I don't mind their fun stuff. But when they get into that, I just don't want a piece of it.
Post Positive Stuff
The thing that you can do to counteract a lot of this stuff is post positive things on Facebook. For example, when somebody has a birthday, wish him a happy birthday. When somebody has an anniversary, wish him a happy anniversary and say congrats. Some of the things that I like to do is post a positive quote every single morning and that tends to get liked, commented and shared and creates some enjoyment for people. I like when other people do that too. So try to do some positive things like that. The other thing is funny pictures. Think about what kind of pictures you can put up there that are entertaining, that are funny, that are not political, that are not divisive. I also do a caption contest of the day.
So the whole thing about being addicted to Facebook is that you can monitor and you can scale back the amount of time you spend there. Just make sure you're using it for positive reasons that help you and your business.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this subject. Comment below and share your thoughts and ideas on how you use currently try to deal with your Facebook Addiction! Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?
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