• John Lim

MF 318 : Feedback on Facebook video chat for Friendsgiving and revisiting social media detox

Updated: Apr 14

Today, I give my feedback on using Facebook video chat for virtual events, and revisit my pledge to disconnect more from social media. More at www.bemovingforward.com.

Moving Forward is also available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and now Amazon Music.

How did the virtual Friendsgiving go on Facebook video chat?

Last week, I covered tips and tools for hosting a virtual Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving event. As I shared on that episode, I opted to try Facebook video chat due to its ease of setup, unlimited time, and accessibility for Facebook and non-Facebook account holders.

Overall, the event went well. I logged on a few minutes before the start time and several people arrived at the start time. I used my AirPods for the audio output and my USB mic for the input; both pre-set on my Macbook settings. However, in the first minute or two, no one could hear my audio. I could hear and see everyone but my voice wasn’t coming through.

I discovered that I had to set the audio settings separately on the Facebook chat window. There’s a three-dot *** menu at the upper-right, similar to most platform protocols. I was able to adjust the audio settings to connect the right inputs and outputs and from there, no one had any trouble hearing me.

The video quality was decent with a few lags here and there, and occasional moments of freeze frame or fuzzy picture resolution. That may have been due to Wifi traffic or bandwidth. Overall, the picture remained steady but was not quite up to par with Zoom, which to my experience has a more consistent picture quality.

As to connectivity, I never experienced a drop call and was able to stay on through the entire event, which dipped over pre-scheduled time by about half an hour. Unlike Zoom, which has a 40 minute time limit for its free accounts, Facebook has no time restriction. We started at 6:45 pm (6:40 pm for me) and went straight through to 10:15 pm: 30 minutes beyond the time frame I set on the event.

The last technical feedback relates to accessibility. While invitees who regularly logged onto Facebook had no problem accessing the event, people who aren’t regularly on Facebook were prompted to log in when they clicked on the link. One of the reasons I chose Facebook was because, at least in theory, anyone should be able to enter an event regardless of whether they have a Facebook account or not. I’m sure, though not 100% certain, I pre-set it so anyone with the link could access it but I may have missed a setting. Regardless, it’s not quite as seamless as a Zoom or Google Hangouts event.

Overall, this was a fun experience and Facebook was a solid choice with a small learning curve and a few quirks. One option I didn’t cover last week was Google Hangouts or Google Duo. I’ve used Hangouts in the past and found it to be versatile, easy to set up, and well designed to handle many attendees. However, Facebook worked well enough to consider as an option for future events.

Revisiting my digital detox – a new approach

On episode 277 at the beginning of this season, I talked about unplugging from my computer and phone over my birthday weekend. My intent was to start slimming down the amount of time I spend on my devices, particularly social media and email. I ended that episode with a pledge to spend less time on my devices.

Things didn’t go exactly to plan.

A few weeks later, we found ourselves in the midst of a pandemic that required us to stay indoors most of the time. During these endless 2020 months, I quickly forgot about that birthday pledge and, if anything, was spending more time on my phone browsing social media and checking email. It got to the point where I would wake up in the middle of the night, groggy and half asleep, and pick up my phone on my night table to quickly check Twitter or IG, as if I could glean any earth shattering insights at 2 or 3 am.

As Thanksgiving approached, I decided it was time to revisit my earlier pledge.

Most of last week, I was off email and social media, save for some pre-programmed holiday tweets and posts. I also did an “audit” of my phone. I had long ago shut off the alerts for Twitter, Facebook, and IG. For the most part, I’m logged out of LinkedIn, and I turned off auto-push delivery on my email accounts. Yet, this didn’t curb my attention away from constantly checking all of the above during the past 7 or 8 months.

I realized a big part of the problem was that these apps were still prominent on the homescreen. Facebook was at the top corner and email was one of my iPhone’s four sticky apps at the bottom. I decided to do a little “redecorating” and move these culprits into a pre-existing folder with the added step of moving them onto a separate page. That way, I would have to proactively open a folder and swipe right to access them. Next, I figured out how to turn off notifications on email, similar to my social media apps.

Finally, I decided to limit my time checking email and social media to 30 minutes to one in the morning. For the most part, I don’t get messages or emails that require an immediate or urgent reply. Thus, it makes no sense for me to be checking them every five minutes. It simply became a habit with no purpose.

I’ve been doing this for just shy of one full week and so far, I’m liking it. I’m better able to allocate my time and attention more fully and be present with the rest of my day. Projects, phone calls, video chats, lectures and reading now get more of my energy and attention. I will make exceptions as needed; in the case of an email or project that requires more spot checking or for a Tweet chat or other pre-scheduled event. Otherwise, I will try to stick with this schedule as we end a long 2020 and move on to a hopefully better, and brighter 2021.

What I’m reading / read

  1. The Boys Omnibus Vol. 4 by Garth Ennis (***)

  2. The Boys Omnibus Vol. 5 by Garth Ennis (***)

  3. The Boys Omnibus Vol. 6 by Garth Ennis (****)

  4. Battlestar Galactica vs. Battlestar Galactica Tp by Peter David (**)

  5. Clive Barker’s Hellraiser Omnibus Vol. 1 by Clive Barker (**)

  6. A Time for Mercy by John Grisham (****)

Books by John

  1. Check out my Amazon author profile for my books.

Audiobook narrated by John

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