I attended a social media think tank meeting yesterday, and while we were introducing ourselves and explaining what we do for our livings and how we use social media, something occurred to me: I rarely go to Facebook.com any more. I chalk some of this up to Facebook’s new format, which I don’t whole-heartedly find easy to use, but I rarely login to Facebook because I have automated all of my Facebook tasks to make me look like I’m online and to send Facebook functions to me. I thought I might share these automated functions with you today to a) educate you and b) find out if there’s anyone else like me out there.
Status Updates via TweetDeck
First off, the Status Update. For a long time, I sent everything I posted to Twitter to my Facebook status. Yes, there’s an app for that. Turns out, my Facebook friends are not the same audience as my Twitter friends, so I turned off that function because I was annoying them and myself. But I was still too lazy to login to Facebook to make status updates. Then TweetDeck released a new version of itself, which included Facebook status functionality and allowed me to send tweets to Twitter, Facebook, or both.
At the same time, TweetDeck will also collect the Facebook status updates from my friends and put them in their own TweetDeck column. Now I have a running feed of what my friends are saying on Facebook. I am so lazy.
Notes via RSS Feed
Some people choose to use their Facebook Notes like a blog, and aside for feeling sorry for them for not having real blogs, I don’t have a ton of time to read through all their memes about high school and their kids. But I still feel compelled to do something with those notes. After all, something might be interesting once in a blue moon. Facebook creates an RSS feed of my friends’ notes, so I read those notes in Google Reader. While Facebook’s RSS generator does a lousy job of maintaining any semblance of formatting Notes allows, I get an general idea of what’s going on in the note, and if I need formatting, I can go back to Facebook for it.
Essential Email Notifications
Some notifications on Facebook are essential to know about pronto. I’m thinking Message notifications and Wall postings primarily, but I also want to know if I’ve been tagged in a note, photo, or video or if someone has commented on anything of mine. Facebook emails me every time something of this sort happens on my profile, and those emails go in a tidy little folder in Gmail, so they don’t clutter up my inbox. The important thing is that these notifications are sent to me; I don’t have to fetch them by logging in. If they require action, I can login at my leisure.
I find some notifications that Facebook offers pesky and choose not to receive notification of them because the information they provide does not warrant immediate action. For example, being invited to a group. That can wait. Being invited to an event. I’m antisocial and not in college, so that can wait. Being added as someone’s friend. That can wait. (Because if we’re not already friends on Facebook, well, you get the picture…)
My Self-Declared Best Practices
I follow a few self-declared best practices to keep my Facebook time to a minimum. For one, I rarely add applications. The ones I do add usually have some function that allows me to do something in Facebook automatically. The others are silly and a waste of time, and I block them. I also rarely chat on Facebook. I rarely chat period. I actually am not a fan of chatting unless you’re a really close friend. And when I can, I try to move Message conversations into email. (Seriously, I really hate the Message function in Facebook. Let’s face it, those are essentially emails, and emails belong in my Gmail Inbox. Period.)
My One Facebook Vice
Now, the one thing I have no qualms about logging in to Facebook for is posting photos. I have no problem logging in to post my photos on Facebook. I do have a problem logging in to look at photos on Facebook because I can waste so much time looking at pictures. And then when I don’t look at them, I miss some good ones, and that sucks. Unfortunately, there is no good way to be notified of those automatically.
I hope you understand that I’m not anti-Facebook. I’m just a firm believer that information should come to me and that I shouldn’t have to check Facebook every other second to see if someone did something new. Maybe I’m a little bit lazy, but that’s fine with me, darn it.
So am I wrong? Is there something inherently awesome in Facebook that I must be logged in 24/7? Or are you just like me, logging in only for the bare Facebook essentials? Tell me!