Guidelines For Use Of New Facebook Account
Yesterday I talked about why I created a new Facebook account. Today I'm listing down some guidelines for myself, concerning the use of my new Facebook account. My main goal here is to be able to manage a Facebook account while still minimizing distractions and keeping my attention intact. I didn't go through my #DigitalMinimalism journey just to throw everything away with a new Facebook account. I'm incorporating lessons I've learned from my year away from Facebook. So here goes.
Rules for Logging In
No installation of the Facebook app on my phone. I'll only login to Facebook using a browser. Ideally, only via a browser on a laptop or PC.
Right now I'm allowing myself to use the browser on my phone to add friends and to reply to comments. That is only temporary, until such time that my friends list stabilizes. I'm giving myself a week at most. After that, I'll only access Facebook via a browser on a laptop or PC.
If need be, to avoid distractions and preserve my attention, I will disable the browser on my phone, or I can block the Facebook website on my phone via the iOS Screen Time settings. – I'm hoping I won't have to do that.
I'm going to be using a modified version of the 3/60 rule to determine how often to login to Facebook. I'm thinking mine will be the 5/60 rule, where I can only login to Facebook at most 5 times in a week, for no more than 60 minutes total. So that would give at most 12 minutes per login. I think that should be enough to reply to comments, share new posts and visit a few profiles.
Rules for Managing the Newsfeed
No following of any accounts/profiles or pages except for my wife’s account. This should cause the newsfeed to be pretty much empty, except for the posts that my wife makes.
An exception to this rule is if I find a profile that has consistently interesting posts. Similar to following a good blog or website, in such a case, I will allow their posts to show up on my newsfeed.
If for any reason my newsfeed starts causing me pain, I will unfollow everyone, including my wife. – Don't worry, I already told her about this and she said she will still make me sandwiches for work.
Rules for Posting Content
No posting of Facebook only content. By this I mean content that can only be found on Facebook, or content that is only shared on Facebook, or content that only Facebook users can see or any variation of that. I'll only post content that links to this site. The point is to get people out of Facebook and into my website(s).
No posting of photos of material things. No posting of any photos that fall under the “my life is better than yours” category. No posting of any “highlight reels” photos or any photo that can be considered “fake lives online”.
If you are a friend on Facebook and you see me violating this rule, please feel free to call me out on it.
Rules for Facebook Groups
No joining of any Facebook groups, except groups whose members I know personally.
Rules for Notifications
No notifications for Likes or any other superficial activity that Facebook wants to notify me about. – Right now I have it setup to where I only get notifications for comments, tags that need to be reviewed and accepted friend requests.
Rules for Interacting with Friends
No clicking of the Like button or any of the available emoji reactions unless I already made a comment. If I can't be bothered to make a comment, then I cannot click the Like button.
Ideally, I just write comments and leave it at that. The point here is to try and initiate a conversation with my friends.
Rules for Managing Friends List
How to decide who I can add to my Friends list? I can only add family and friends who I know personally, who I have talked to personally in the past and who add value to my life. If you do not fall into these categories, feel free to make an appeal by sending me a message. Otherwise, those rules are set for my own sanity, not yours.
An exception to this rule are good friends I made online back when I was still playing MMORPGs.
Can I add co-workers? Co-workers from a previous job, sure why not, as long as they fall into the criteria I listed above for adding friends. Other co-workers are better off adding me on LinkedIn instead.
Lastly, I'm going to limit my Friend list to no more than 100 people. This is based off Dunbar's number, which is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.
So if I'm only following my wife’s account, what's the point of adding people to my friends list? Good question. The point is to be intentional of my use of Facebook. I want my newsfeed to be as short and tidy as possible. I'm even willing to unfollow my wife’s account if the newsfeed starts giving me problems. I will be scheduling days when I will visit my friends profiles to see what they're up to. It's as simple as that.
How did I come up with these rules? If you're wondering why the guidelines/rules I have are the way they are, you should look into why I tried quitting social media in the first place. In addition to that, I got some of those ideas from Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism book and from the various comments you can find on his blog posts.