To those who’ve been reading this blog for a while, it will not come as a surprise that my relationship to Mr. Zuckerberg’s all-seing Social Network is… well… complicated.

I haven’t yet deleted (sorry, it’s not possible to delete one’s Facebook account, I meant of course “temporarily deactivated”) my Facebook account. The only reason I still “exist” there is because I need to keep a few pages and apps alive, and no – there seems to be no easy way to transfer these to a new account.

So, when I use Facebook once in a while in the form of replying to a private message or group thread, I do it via email. Social necessities are being met, and I don’t need to set foot into the colorblind world of the brain-sucking Book Of Faces. Period.

And while I described here how to use a Chrome app to block Facebook, I recently opted for an even deeper approach, allowing me to not just avoid the time-wasting but also block the infamous Like-Button and it’s cookies on all browsers at all times.

Having said that, there are far more fun, creative and stimulating ways to waste time! *cough*

1. Reddit

This is a platform that many people shy away from due to its somewhat clunky-looking interface. In many ways it is the opposite of Facebook and a true example of what an Internet community can look like in all its glory (and gore).

  • Instead of just giving a lobotomized thumbs up or staying silent, users can downvote! Let’s face it, some posts on Social Networks are really bad and they don’t deserve “Likes”, they scream for a clear and unequivocal NO!
  • Going through the hundreds of sub-reddits there are thriving communities of witty and knowledgeable individuals to be found about almost any topic from linguistics to, well… birds with arms?.
  • It’s anonymous. People don’t have pictures or extensive background-info. There’s just a nickname and the value of the written word or posted content. And it seems to make for a lot more revealing, intensive debates.
please note: if you aren’t careful you might step into some dark, obscure corners. Some parts of reddit are not safe for work (or life!) but they are usually marked as such. In other words: Watch your step! (You have been warned.)

2. Tumblr

If there’s one way to describe Tumblr I’d say it’s a blogging platform for people too lazy to write or a visuals-based Twitter. Here are few of my favourite things:

  • you get your own blog and full control over the look & feel (edit the source-code until satisfied)
  • follow other blogs or tags and find interesting new materials around a certain topic
  • see something that you like? hit reblog and it now appears on your blog in all its glory
Next to Twitter, Tumblr is a great tool for content-curation and we’ve been using it intensively here to find always fresh and exciting content about education, books and (paperless) publishing. Check out our Tumblr here.

3. Twitter

Many people don’t get Twitter. Facebooking seems so easy. But Twitter? What to do with it? How to use it? And these hash-tags? It all seems too much, so people rather post more baby photos and “inspirational” quotes on their walls. But here’s why Twitter is awesome:

  • pin-point certain users or topics to receive live-updates about almost anything
  • get bite-sized novelty input in the shape of articles, videos, images and witty 140 character statements
  • send your own Tweets out into space. Most of them won’t get a comment. And they don’t have to. People acknowledge tweets, sometimes they retweet or respond but generally the experience is of a great field of ambient connectivity.

Note: Using Twitter effectively will take a while. It’s all about “following” the right people and not following too many. Once you get a batch of interesting folks, the party begins.

Conclusion: Even besides Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit there are tons of other wacky ways to spend or (waste) time on the Internet. So, why Facebook? Just because “everybody’s doing it”? Or is there really some deep unfathomable value to clicking Like until the cows come home?

 img: AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Lillais.Burke