Friendly Discrimination

Listening to a Mixergy’s interview with Gabriel Machuret of InternetNinja, his reference to the Time Doctor application caused me to reface the fact that I spend too much time unproductively on Facebook.  I am not saying that Facebook is unproductive, because I find a lot of rich value in it.  Yet, I had not been using it efficiently and effectively.

For me, the newsfeed is an unwieldy beast that hides more than it shows.  Previously, I had tried organizing my friends into “circle like” lists, but that did not work for me as some list still hid more than they showed.

So the other night, I decided to take a decidedly selfish approach to organizing my list of friends based upon their individual value to me.

Repurposing the First Things First approach to tasks, I assigned each of my Facebook friends to one of four lists: A, B, C, and Newbies.  When I assigned a friend to a list, I removed them from my newsfeed, so that I would eliminate duplication.  For my convenience, I added each of these lists to by Favorites list on Facebook.

The A list contains friends from whom I did not want to miss a single post.  Not only would these get more of my time, attention, and responses, but these were the ones that I wanted to hear from first.

The B list contains friends from whom it was import to me to see each day.  While I would not want to miss any of their posts, in the context of everything else, I would be less diligent and timely than the A listers.  I found that this resulted in a list of Facebook friends that I valued highly and wanted to consciously enhance our relationship.

The C list (yes, I think mainframe whenever I reference that) contains friends whom are more acquaintances…I know them, enjoy them, and could become closer to them if I find more value in our interactions.  These include people I knew pre-Facebook (but would probably not be seeing without it), and individuals with whom I had some interaction and who I met through Facebook, YouTube, or other online interactions.  It is a list of developing and yet unrealized opportunity.

The Newbies are individuals who invited me to Facebook friendship and with whom I shared important values, but I do not really interact with them.  After segregating my friends, I found that the newsfeed had previously given these friends an oversized share of by attention.  While I could simply unfriend them, I would then lose the value that I was finding with them.   By being discriminating with them, I can also be discriminating with my time, attention, and priorities.

Experimenting with this for a few day, I have found: (1) I could focus on the posts that are more important to me, (2) I get through all of my friends’ posts without limiting it to a cursory effort, and (3) I could enjoy interacting on Facebook instead of reducing it to a slog.

If you would like to try this experiment for yourself, as you go through your regular newsfeed process, start assigning friends to the A, B, C, and Newbie lists, then remove them from your newsfeed.  To do so within the newsfeed, (1) put your cursor over your friend’s name, (2) put your cursor within the popup over the “Friend” button,  and (3) use the resulting list box to change list assignments.  I expect that you will find that by being discriminating according to your values that you will be able to make your friends on Facebook the priority that they deserve to be.

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