A new Chrome plugin helps you fight the urge to waste time on Facebook.
We’ve all been there: “I gotta look up that guy’s phone number from my Facebook messages for this report.” Three hours and eighty-two cat videos later–along with a heated argument over the new Star Wars trailer in the comments section of your brother-in-law’s post, one that led to soapboxing on the unnecessary aggression towards women who cosplay at conventions–you don’t have the guy’s phone number and your report isn’t finished.
The above scenario is part of the blessing and the curse of social media. Despite dire warnings that technology is turning us all into hermits, the very addictive nature of social media proves the opposite is true. We have a desperate need to look at pictures of our college roommate’s lunch, say something supportive on our neighbor’s weight loss update, and keep tabs on the Earth Day celebration going on at the local elementary school (even if we don’t actually have children).
But a new Chrome plugin has launched, one that’s designed to help you use social media wisely while still avoiding the pitfall of getting pulled into an endless loop of wasted time. Called Focusbook, it works in a way that’s reminiscent of an award-winning social media filtering app aimed at preventing cyberbullying called ReThink. While Rethink made users pause and reconsider their words based on keyword triggering, Focusbook lets you set up individualized parameters for why you’re on Facebook in the first place, then gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) reminds you that you’ve got work to do.
Unfortunately, as TechCrunch’s Jon Russell points out, “Focusbook won’t cure everyone — there’s still Facebook’s mobile apps and their attention-grabbing notifications — but it might make you aware just how much time the social network eats up.” Of course, you can ignore Focusbook’s warning system just as easily as you can ignore the suspicious looks from the boss, too. Until you develop the ingrained sense of self-control that keeps you from clicking on every headline, plugins and newsfeed blockers are here to help.