Let’s admit it, all social media is a big waste of time and productivity. You tend to open it when you are bored, have nothing else to do or simply look for an escape, but it the long run it becomes a habit that consumes so much of your precious time. Even further, it creates addiction and in some cases it makes you lose the connection with the real world, pay less attention to your loved ones and even worse cause accidents when used at improper times.
Facebook, the biggest social media network is no different when it comes to being a ‘time wasting’ machine. I knew people, millennials in general, that couldn’t start their day without reading all the time, scrolling down until the last post they could remember from their previous evening. I won’t make here the argument of how people stare of their phones in public spaces without paying attention to the people that pass by or to what happens around them. I guess that all of us are aware of this, are we?
What I’ve learned over many years in the work field and in personal life also, criticizing without trying to be constructive or without proposing a possible solution helps no one. So here is my attempt on proposing a solution.
Solution 1: Timeline Filters
Let’s imagine for a moment that you are interested in several topics like business, money management, sports and arts (music for example). In this scenarios over time you’ve liked several pages providing news, stories, articles, pictures, videos, online shops, etc. for each and every topic you are interested in.
You are drinking your coffee in the morning and you open Facebook on your phone. You want to read something along your coffee so you chose one of the first articles that come on your time line. Stop. Why did you do that? Why the first and not an useful or meaningful article?
I’ll tell you why. Just because you can’t filter them and you settle only with what Facebook pushes up to you first.
So Facebook, why not releasing some nice Filters to the time line (let’s say TABs) configurable for wider areas of interest that would present all the latest posts specific to that particular topic. You don’t actually need to automatically configure them. Each responsible user could create his own and add what he likes in a specific Filter/TAB of his time line.
Solution 2: News groups
Same scenario as above, but instead of applying various filters to your timeline to select from a drop down right menu a group of news feeds (pretty much configured by you as Facebook group) containing all the relevant latest posts for a specific topic.
How cool would it be for these customized groups to be shareable?
I could enumerate multiple advantages of the approaches from above. However I’ll let you imagine how they would work and how they could help you, maybe you’ll come this way with even a better idea.
Instead, I will express one of my bold opinion which actually made me think of the above. Facebook is a waste of time – at least 90% of it. Why I’m still using the app is because I enjoy reading new articles published by pages I started to trust over time. I’m not interested in what my friends are doing, where they travel neither, and for sure I’m not amused by the fart my neighbor puppy cat just made. I prefer to read ideas some old other new – and that makes me feel better about the time I’m wasting staring at my phone.
Second, Facebook why are you trying to make the mistakes Television made in the past? Why I am saying this? If I start to watch an online video I’m expecting to see the video not the add you consider to publish it to me in the middle of the nice video. Sorry to say this, but this is the approach Television had and we all run of it and escaped online. Don’t make the same mistake they did, if you still want to keep your users across several years. And Yes, YouTube is a lot better video service than you are. Look at them, they prompt you with the add in the beginning you get to chose if you watch it or skip it and guess what?, you continue to use their platform instead of closing it and moving to another site or another activity.
As a conclusion I can say that my general impression about Facebook is that they try to still my time. So I spend less and less on this particular social media, close the browser tab of it, disabled mobile phone notifications pushed by it, etc. Who knows, maybe if it implements a similar solution as the ones described above, I could start again using it more often but for a useful purpose like reading articles from the topics I’m interested in, by keeping me up to date with the latest news in the fields I like, by feeling that I’m not a dumb idiot staring at my phone but instead I get informed out of it. So Facebook please don’t treat us as a Tabloid TV network, treat us as intelligent readers and media consumers and we might chose you more often.