Every week I write a technology column for Stuff, New Zealand’s largest news media website. In a recent column, I wrote about controlling your social media diet. It struck a chord with many people.
The problem is that social media is addictive and – to continue the diet metaphor – full of empty calories. Here’s a quick summary of my tips, but I encourage you to read the article:
- Scale back on which social media services you use.
- Use the unfollow button on Facebook and the mute button on Twitter to prune your feeds.
- Funnel better content into your feeds; e.g. sign up to Facebook Groups for hobbies or topics you’re passionate about.
- Impose time limits on yourself, just as you would on your iPad-hogging, YouTube-addicted child.
- Turn off notifications; or even better, remove social media apps from your phone (which I’ve done).
Also check out this long comments thread on my Facebook page. The thing I loved about that thread is that it proved social media can be useful after all 😉
Since writing that column, I’ve cut back on the parts of social media that were annoying me – unfollowing people who write political rants, avoiding the groupthink aspects of Twitter, and generally just reducing the amount of time I spend on social media. For example: I only check Tweetdeck on my computer occasionally, and do not have the Twitter app on my phone (I’m thinking of removing it from my tablet too).
It’s not all about scaling back though. I recently discovered a bunch of Facebook groups about topics of interest to me, so I’m enjoying seeing those in my feed. I also reset my Twitter lists, based on my current topical interests.
In my other recent columns, I looked at how the streaming era is changing music, I explained why AI assistants are the next computing revolution, and I checked in with troubled personal genomics startup 23andMe a decade after its launch.