Thursday, September 01, 2011

Facebook: A Time Sink?

A ministerial friend was complaining lately about the time it can take to wade through the dross of Facebook posts to get to the good stuff.  Most of this post is a re-post of my tips on this matter from 18 months ago, and since then I have gleaned another tip.  Up in the top line, where you can click "most recent" or "top news", you see that the "most recent" has a drop down menu, whereby you can choose what KIND of news you want...status updates, pictures, games, or linked articles.

If you've decided to use Facebook in your ministry, then you will want to use it efficiently.  The most important way to do this is to use the "hide" function.

If you hover your mouse to the right of any post, the word "hide" will appear.  Notice the two "Egg" posts to the left.  The word "hide" is not there until you point your mouse to that place.   Click and you will see a menu.  You can hide a person...someone who posts utter trivia 10 times a day, for instance, or you can hide an application.  If you don't want to see the news about your friends'  high scores in Bejeweled Blitz or their levels in Mafia wars, just hide that application.  The person who has been hidden doesn't know they have been hidden.

(You can unbefriend people, too.  No notice is ever sent to them, but they they might study their friend list and discover that you are gone.  That might be considered a risky pastoral move.  Unless you object to them seeing your posts, just hide them.)

Live Chat is also a time sink.  If you don't want to chat, click the "off line" option in the Chat window.  If you don't do that and somebody tries to chat with you when you don't want to chat, close the window and ignore them.  For all they know, you are away from your computer.

Use "like".  You can click "like" to any post, or you can comment.  Like is faster.

Your Home Page on Facebook can be set to give you "top news" or "most recent".   In "top news", Facebook will give you only the posts it thinks you will be most interested in.  That's probably a must for folks with hundreds of  active friends.  For the rest of us, scanning "most recent" is most likely to give us all the news we really want.  Unfortunately, you have to select this  every time you log in.

Like all new technologies, Facebook has a learning curve.  This one is a little less user-friendly to newbies than, say, Google products are.  Be patient with yourself, and ask questions of your FacebookFriends.  After you've learned, Facebook is much more manageable and much more fun than email.  Enjoy!