You see it all the time — in the middle of your busy news feed, among the links to YouTube videos and cat pictures and photos from last night and business promotions you try to ignore, appears a status update from a friend who has had enough. "I'm sick of Facebook. I'm leaving. Good-bye." Sometimes this is an empty threat, nothing more than a plea for the dozens of comments that inevitably follow wherein the poster is begged to stay. But sometimes, the poster really does the disappearing act. What was once a fun, interactive experience online had turned into pure aggravation or perhaps everything that was once rosy had simply gone stale with time. Here are three key ways to keep your social networking experience on Facebook from going stale.
3. Don't be afraid to hide some and cut others.
The news feed is indisputably the most important feature of Facebook — it makes your Facebook experience what it is and if your news feed is riddled with links, people, and posts you readily ignore, it's up to you, and you alone, to change that. The first step is dealing with your friends, family members, coworkers, and acquaintances. Luckily, you don't have to "unfriend" anyone at all; the "Hide" button keeps people in your life but allows you to take a — hopefully temporary — break from theirs. They won't know they've been hidden, your sanity will be saved, and your news feed will be much cleaner. Who knows? You may even miss them after a while.
As for pages, we have all fallen prey to the "Like us for a deal" promotion at one time or another. As a result, you may "Like" dozens upon dozens of pages that have little to do with your everyday life. Start treating those pages like email spam and unsubscribe/unlike as soon as a status from them appears.
2. Open yourself up to new networks.
You can no longer deny the statistics — your mother or father or uncle or grandmother is probably on Facebook. And while you may have once laughed at the endless video parodies of such an event occurring, maybe it's time to make your own ideas about what this means for your networking experience. Facebook is no longer a college alumni network. It's a living, breathing high-school reunion. It means being tagged in (and untagging) grade school photos. It means seeing your baby pictures posted on your birthday alongside camera pics of last night's drunken celebration. Maybe it's time to embrace it — widen your network, establish some boundaries (being tagged in middle school dance photos is just wrong), utilize your privacy settings when necessary, and join the party. For those who live far from their families and friends, Facebook can be exactly what it portends to be — a new way for you to connect with others.
1. Let Facebook evolve with you, not the other way around.
Facebook is everywhere. Its influence is astounding and its impact may not be measured in its entirety for years to come. This pervasiveness may make it seem like it's saturating everything it touches, but its sheer availability also means that it can be utilized and honed for many, if not all, of your online interests. As your interests evolve, let your use of Facebook evolve with them. For example, you may have recently taken an interest in cooking. Turn Facebook into a way to network with real chefs, get deals from your favorite restaurants and local shops, follow reputable news sources on dining and cooking trends, subscribe to cooking groups and popular food blogs, and join in the conversation. Facebook is only a one-note source of entertainment and information if you allow it to be, so get busy.