Productivity Hacks

How to master Facebook instead of Facebook mastering you

When I wrote this article, I'm guessing 99% of you people reading this came from Facebook.

You read the attractive title, and decided that this was worth your timeThe average 14-year-old reads 250 words a minute. This article is 1000 words. It should take you 4 minutes to read it.

The title was kind of a clickbait. I did a lot of research on writing such headlines. You probably know a few Facebook pages that do something similar. You still click them anyway, and I don't blame you.

I won't deny it. To this day, I still procrastinate on the Facebook News Feed. Just nowhere near as much, and whenever I'm on it, I enjoy and inform myself much more. I procrastinate productively.

Procrastinate productively?

You heard me right. Your News Feed is filled with many types of content. These types of content vary by the value they bring to you.

If you master your News Feed, you'll get a higher value-per-minute on Facebook. Some of your extra value-per-minute might have transferable effects on your career development, creativity, hobbies, passions, personal growth, and meme appreciation.

The News Feed can be mastered in three simple steps, taking around half an hour. Here's the short version:

Step 1: Unlike garbage Facebook pages, and unfollow annoying friends

Step 2: Like quality Facebook pages, and "see first" from cooler friends

Step 3: Like a lot of content from your newfound pages and cooler friends

Step 1: Unlike and unfollow bad stuff
The truth is hard, man

I'm probably causing controversy with this image. I admit when used to I followed these pages, I found their content kind of entertaining sometimes (keyword: kind of).

However, they have this in common: you will struggle to say that their posts actually reflects their titles. Or that they give you excellent value-per-minute.

There are better ways to entertain and inform yourself on your News Feed.

Here are 5 possible question to ask when considering whether to unlike or unfollow something on Facebook:

    1. Am I genuinely learning or being entertained at an acceptable level?

    2. Am I feeling unnecessary anger or sadness over their posts?

    3. Is their political agenda too biased?

    4. Can I talk to others about this in a conversation without being basic?

    5. Would others appreciate this on their News Feed if I shared it?

When you've decided a page or a friend is not giving you your value-per-minute, this is what you do:

If you're on your PC: On your Facebook News Feed, hover to the name of the Facebook Page. You'll see a Like button. Click it to unlike. Repeat until you feel freed from the chains of social media distraction.

Unfriending people based on the things they share is not very nice. So for friends, hover your mouse to their name. Hover to "Following". Click "Unfollow *Friend's Name*".

Unliking pages on PC

If you're on your mobile: Click the Facebook page or friend's name. This redirects you to their page or Timeline. You'll be able to unlike or unfollow them easily from here.

Unfollowing friends on mobile
Step 2: Like and see good stuff first

You're now no longer mastered by Facebook. If you're satisfied with that, you can enjoy the outdoors and stop reading here 😉 If you want to master Facebook, read on.

After optimising my News Feed, I accidentally found my passion in Education Technology after stumbling upon this exact article on TechCrunch. I wasn't even actively looking at education at the time. In fact, I wasn't even sure of my general career direction.

When I unliked all those pages on Facebook, the first thing I wanted was to "be amazed by the wonders of the world". At the time it was October 2016. The U.S. presidential elections were at their final stage. The second thing I wanted was to "stop the diarrhea of alternative facts".

Begin searching for pages using Facebook's search bar. Once you find your page, click on the page name. You will be redirected to their homepage. Like the page. Immediately afterwards, right below the basic information of the page, you will be recommended similar pages to follow.

Related pages are definitely worth checking out

It wasn't long until my News Feed was filled with cool technology, next-generation architecture, travel stories, startup culture, psychology facts, indie musicians, the digital revolution, and premium-grade memes.

I'm certain yours will be equally inspiring.

You probably have friends that regularly share exceptional content, be it great advice, good quality news, or dank memes. Maybe they're a close friend. You should "see first" from them not to stalk them, but because you appreciate what they share.

It's the same steps as unfollowing them, except the last step.

Stalk your friends more efficiently

If you're on your PC: Hover your mouse to your friend's name. Hover to "Following" at the bottom. Click "See First".

If you're on your mobile: Go to your friend's Timeline. Tap "Following". Tap "See First".

Step 3: Keep liking good stuff

This last step is the easiest. Once you've liked and "See First" from your desired pages and Facebook friends, hit the Like button on their posts, and if they post an article, click the link. This tells Facebook that you want to see more of this type of content on your News Feed.

Facebook will begin detecting and figuring out what type of content you like. They'll start ranking certain types of content over others.

It's like an "echo chamber", but with minimal politics. Displaying only content you truly care about.

Most people feel uncomfortable with the word "echo chamber". Every now and then, go through the pages you like. See which ones are not getting enough attention on your News Feed. Repeat step 3 until they do.

Go take action now

Very soon, your News Feed will be full of posts by pages and friends you actually want to hear more about. Your value-per-minute would increase dramatically. You will have transformed from a procrastinator, into at least a productive procrastinator 😉

And maybe, you might accidentally discover a great passion just like I have.

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5 thoughts on “How to master Facebook instead of Facebook mastering you

  1. Great post Lorenzo! I totally agree with filtering the information that one receives in Facebook. I think that it’s very characteristic of our times–and many probably fall into it–to identify being smart and cultured with simply knowing a lot of things–a lot of facts, to be exact. In the end it’s really about being exposed to the best things that the world can give, and contributing one’s own talents to innovation, to make great things that can contribute positively to society.

    One “precaution” came to mind as I read the article: I don’t know much about it, but favoring content that we like on Facebook by liking the things that appeal to us may create some sort of a “content bubble”–meaning that there may come a point when we simply see things in Facebook that we like, but not new things that could interest us, which we may not be able to see because they’re not exactly related to the things that we like, which is why Facebook may never show them to us. I guess it’s also an invitation to be creative and find ways to immerse ourselves in other interesting fields, this way “going beyond” Facebook’s service of showing related or similar pages (which in itself is already a great service, if used well). But then again, maybe Facebook also suggests new pages, aside from related ones. Cheers!

    1. What up Miggy

      I truly doubt all those BoredPanda and BuzzFeed articles will serve your time or your conversations justice. To really have high value-added conversations, expose yourself to more niche and nuanced content.

      Regarding the content bubble (more famously called the echo chamber), this is something Facebook’s algorithm is designed to do. They guess what kind of person you are, and recommend pages that people similar to you also like.

      This is why it’s important to audit the people and pages you follow every now and then, and repeat “Step 3” whenever you think you’re not getting excited anymore.

  2. Nice first post man!
    About every year I go through all of my liked pages on FB to check if I need to see their content. Some of the pages I don’t recognize content-wise because they drastically changed (mostly to clickbait). Seems like more and more pages are turning to clickbait, but that is turning me away from them. I feel like it’s just better to join FB groups for better posts and discussions.

    1. Cheers Rob!

      FB groups are a great concept. They parallel LinkedIn groups in many ways, but have less pressure since you don’t need to be your “professional self” all the time. I was thinking of adding it here, but I think it deserves its own post

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