Yep. It’s that time of the year again.
I am not going to make this a long post, but I have to do something for IKSD 2019. I can’t let the momentum flag….
Let’s face it, social media is probably more effort than it’s worth. I could curse the people who came up with the idea, and yet, it was probably inevitable that something along these lines would be what the internet has developed into. The specifics, though, might have looked different if more thoughtful, more benevolent people had developed the concept. Dream on!
I have the distinct feeling that the idea behind the Matrix—of humans plugged into a machine which harvests their very life force while feeding them a dream-world-existence to keep them going, has found its very cruel reality in social media.
So while I find myself in the niggly situation of having to use social media for various things (club and school notices are posted on Facebook, group pages are used for functional activity, etc.), I do try to limit the amount of time I spend on social media (which is a constant battle, since the very premise of almost all social media sites is to set up their algorithms to maximise the time we spend on social media, so that they can harvest the maximum amount of data from us, expose us to the maximum amount of revenue-generating advertising, and turn the maximum profit on us. Yes, look yourself in the mirror each morning, and say to yourself “I am a social media profit centre.” And then look back down at your phone and give them your time like a good little slave.
So some things I do to minimise my time on social media are:
- Minimise the services I use (Instagram? No. Snapchat? No? etc.). If there is no compelling reason other than gawking at other people, then I try to avoid it.
- Use time tracking tools like RescueTime or ManicTime (I actually use both) and even the tracking tools on my phone, to constantly monitor the time I spend on social media, so that I can see when I am losing my foothold and getting sucked in. And no, I am not getting a kickback for recommending RescueTime or ManicTime (which is why I can post the links twice without creating suspicion).
- Avoid using the phone apps provided by social media companies. I lasted one day, I seem to recall, on the Facebook Android app. It just has too much control, and really allows them to create a gravitational force that I was not able to stand up to (yes, know your weaknesses). So I deleted the app, and only access Facebook via the website from my phone. Which leads me to…
- Spend as little time on these services from your phone as possible, and rather access them from your desktop or laptop. There are several advantages to this strategy.
- The inconvenience factor (it’s just much easier to browse social media from the phone, so it’s easier to get sucked in).
- The access via the website, not the app, mentioned above (yes, I know Facebook has a desktop app too—I don’t use it for a reason).
- The ability to use browser apps like SocialFixer, which I highly recommend (and which I recommend you support—no kickbacks for me, again). These tools really help cut the crap, and help limit the time you spend on social media (e.g., SocialFixer limits the Facebook posts shown at one time, and it has the ability to mark all the posts on your page as being read, so they don’t appear again—a major way the social media companies get us to stay on their sites, because we want to scroll past the stuff we have seen, to get to the stuff we haven’t seen).
- And then also the ability to use keyboard shortcuts to speed up the process, which brings me to this post.
However, since the lists of keyboard shortcuts have been adequately enumerated elsewhere, I am not going to replicate them all here. Just provide you with some links to good lists, and recommend that you cultivate the discipline of using these, again with the aim of cutting down your time on social media. Set yourself a target, try to keep to it, and use the time you gain for some productive work, or rather put down the phone, turn off the computer, and use the extra time doing something you like with someone you love. That will have a far greater positive impact on your life than any amount of social media browsing you could ever cram in.
So, without further ado, go and work through some of these pages, and learn and use these shortcuts: