You Can Now See How Much Time You Spend on Facebook and Instagram

iStock
iStock

"Digital well-being" is a buzz phrase getting more play in recent months, as the tech field continues rolling out responses to cautions about excessive use of social media. In addition to staring at screens before bed potentially affecting sleep, poring over your friends' Facebook feeds might be making you depressed, while constantly updating your own profile might indicate you're a narcissist.

Now, Facebook is introducing a new feature that might help curb some of that over-indulgence, as TechCrunch reports. The company recently announced that it's implemented a way for users to monitor their daily usage in minutes. Labeled "Your Time on Facebook" on Facebook and "Your Activity" on Instagram, the function informs you of how much time you've spent enjoying cat videos. (And presumably, how much less time you've spent with your actual cat.) If you activate "Set Daily Reminder," the software will notify you when you've exceeded whatever allotted time you've set for yourself browsing the site. You can also mute notifications for a set time in order to minimize disruptions.

As TechCrunch writer Josh Constine points out, there are some drawbacks. The new feature doesn't tell you how much of your time is spent actively participating in social media—posting, liking, and interacting—and how much is spent passively scrolling content, or what some have dubbed "passive zombie feed scrolling." It's also not a prominent feature; users have to go to "Settings" and then "Your Time on Facebook" to configure the option and evaluate their data.

Obviously, neither Facebook nor Instagram will cut you off once you've reached your self-imposed limit. You'll have to do that yourself.

Wondering how you stack up compared to the rest of the population? In 2016, Facebook said that their average user is logged in to Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger for roughly 50 minutes a day.

[h/t TechCrunch]

Twitter Bug Accidentally Alerted Users When Someone Unfollowed Them

iStock/bigtunaonline
iStock/bigtunaonline

Social media networks may notify you every time your former high school classmate has a birthday, but there's one piece of information most sites choose not to share with users. When someone unfriends or unfollows you, platforms like Facebook and Instagram will save you the pain of knowing about it. This is normally the standard on Twitter, but thanks to a new bug, some Twitter users have received notifications when people unfollowed them, Vice reports.

For several days in June, many Twitter users reported receiving push notifications on their phones every time one their followers removed them from their feed. The notifications didn't clearly reference the awkward situation: The bug told users that someone had “followed them back” when they had actually hit the unfollow button. People eventually caught on to what was really happening.

The bug apparently didn't affect all users, so if you unfollowed someone on Twitter in the past week or so, there's a chance they didn't notice. Though if they really wanted to know, there are third-party apps that show Twitter users who unfollowed them.

According to Fast Company, Twitter has resolved the issue and users no longer risk getting their feelings hurt every time they check their notifications. So feel free to continuing curating the list of people you follow in privacy.

[h/t Vice]

This Amazingly Simple Google Docs Hack Is a Game-Changer

iStock/ardaguldogan
iStock/ardaguldogan

The seconds it takes to manually open a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide on your computer are short compared to the time you spend working in them. But if you're already feeling stressed or tempted to procrastinate, the process of going to Google Drive, selecting New, and opening a blank document can be annoying enough to disrupt your workflow. For people looking to maximize as much of their time as possible, Google introduced a hack late last year that creates a new Doc, Sheet, or Slide in seconds.

According to TechCrunch, you can launch a blank Google Doc in less time than it takes to type out a full web address. If you're already signed into your Google account, simply go to your web browser, type in doc.new (no www. required) and hit Enter to go to your fresh, new document. For Google Slides, do the same for slide.new, and for Sheets, use sheet.new. It doesn't matter if you pluralize the name of the app: Typing doc.new or docs.new will bring you to the same place.

Google owns the .new web domain, which allowed it to create these convenient hacks for its users. If you're a frequent user of Google's applications, you can bookmark the addresses so they pop up in your browser suggestions with just a couple keystrokes.

The new document shortcut is pretty straightforward, but there are several more Google Docs features that make life more convenient for users in unexpected ways, including features for automatically transcribing audio and outlining documents.

[h/t TechCrunch]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER