With people spending more time on social platforms amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, Facebook has added a new 'Quiet Mode' option to help better manage and control your Facebook usage, while it's also revamped its 'Your Time on Facebook' listings in order to provide users with more information as to how, exactly, they're spending their time in the app.
As explained by Facebook:
"As we all adjust to new routines and staying home, setting boundaries for how you spend your time online can be helpful. We've added Quiet Mode, which mutes most push notifications, and if you try to open Facebook while in Quiet Mode, you’ll be reminded that you set this time aside to limit your time in the app. We've also added shortcuts to Notification Settings and News Feed Preferences, so you can make the most of your time on Facebook by controlling the type of posts you see in your News Feed as well as the updates you receive."
As you can see from the last two screenshots in the sequence above, the new Quiet Mode option will let you either switch on Quiet Mode straight away, or set a schedule for when you want to stop getting Facebook notifications. That could be beneficial for those looking to more clearly define their time, without the physical indicator of, say, leaving an office.
If you try to access Facebook in your set quiet period, you'll see a notifier like this on-screen.
You won't receive notifications from the app within your quiet period, and those compulsive red dot notifications won't appear on the Facebook app icon on your device either. Though it is worth noting that not all notifications will be halted - privacy updates and "legally required alerts" will still come through even when you're in your quiet period, if they happen to be pushed out within that time.
Facebook has provided various options to help control your notifications for some time, including specific settings for those sometimes annoying red dot alerts, but Quiet Mode covers them all in one hit, which will make it easier for people to set aside Facebook-free time. Which, as Facebook notes, could be particularly helpful amid the current lockdowns, where we're all working from home, and our work/life balance lines are blurred significantly.
In addition to this, Facebook has also revamped its 'Your Time on Facebook' section, which provides an overview of how much time you're spending in the app.
Facebook first introduced its time spent listings in 2018, but this new update provides more insight, including week-over-week comparisons and time of day changes. And as you can see here, the updated section also now includes a link to your Activity Log, so you can additionally see what you've been doing on Facebook, including the things you've Liked, comments posted etc. This is not new insight, but Facebook has now made all of this information easier to access from one place.
Given the increased reliance on Facebook, and other social platforms, as a means of social connection while separated, it makes sense to also set some boundaries around the time we spend in these apps, so we can also ensure we focus on our families and spending quality time with kids - who are also being significantly impacted by the lockdowns. They too miss out on social connection with their friends, which is normally a significant portion of their day - so while that engagement is not normally with us, they still need that interaction, as we do, which we can sometimes overlook.
Setting aside defined time each day to shut down is a key element of establishing a healthy work/life balance, which is something that many workers are now adjusting to for the first time. As such, these new additions could be key in defining those lines, and reinforcing the need to disconnect every now and then.