Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks are a great way to stay connected to friends and relatives, but they can also be a time suck. I don’t know about you, but I for one have wasted entire mornings just browsing the news feed on Facebook.
That just had to stop, but at the same time, social networks are still a great communication tool. We really shouldn’t cut ourselves off from the sites entirely, just from the parts that can consume the work day. Luckily, there is a middle ground between blocking an entire social network, and leaving the whole site accessible.
While some might have the willpower to simply not open the Twitter tab, that isn’t always enough. Some of us require active intervention to stop us from visiting Twitter or Facebook. I freely admit that I have failed to break my habit of visiting FB and Twitter everyday (I opened Twitter 5 times while writing this blog post), and my solution to this issue is going to require stronger measures.
Here’s what I did.
1. Delete the Apps
As a first step to curbing my FB and Twitter dependence, I removed the apps from almost all of my devices. I left the accounts active on my smartphone just in case, but I made sure to clear them from everywhere else. (This step was made easier by the fact that I rarely installed the apps on my mobile devices.)
2. Block the Facebook News Feed
The one part of Facebook that I desperately need to avoid is the news feed. FB groups can also be a time suck, but I can always just leave a group (or turn off notifications for that group) if it became an issue. There are simple ways to block entire sites, but blocking just one part of Facebook is a little more difficult. Luckily for me I am not the only one with this need.
I found a Chrome extension called Facebook Feed Eradicator which performed exactly as promised. It removed the feed, but left me the option of posting an update. (I can also visit groups, respond to or send DMs, etc.)
Similar extensions are available for most web browsers.
2. Block the Twitter Home Page
Once the Facebook news feed is gone, it’s time to perform similar surgery on Twitter.
Twitter has its own equivalent of the FB news feed on its home page, and it’s a whole lot easier to block. We can block the Twitter home page using just about any plugin, and since that page is at www.Twitter.com/Home, we can block just the one page and leave the rest of the site accessible.
I am using a plugin called “Block Site”. It’s a Chrome extension that is designed to block any site you tell it to, and it works really great at blocking just the one page on Twitter.
I don’t know that it’s available for all web browsers, but there are many alternative extensions both for Chrome and for other web browsers. (A quick search of the Chrome Web Store found dozens of similar extensions.)
Now that I have installed and enabled the browser extensions, and deleted the apps, I beleive I have cut myself off from the worst parts of Twitter and FB.
I hope this works for you, but if it doesn’t, there are options. You might need even more extreme measure such as having someone change your Twitter and FB passwords for you, or installing parental controls on your computer.
The thing is, folks, how you solve a problem is less important than the act of solving it, and you shouldn’t feel bad about taking steps to curb your social network dependency any more than you would feel bad for using a calendar app to keep your schedule in order.