Mark Zuckerberg’s tweaking of his algorithms has come too late for me. I’ve quit Facebook as of 8 Jan 2018. Well, it’s more correct to say that I’ve deactivated my account. Why? Well, to answer the question in the proximate rather than the ultimate sense, because I didn’t know the difference between deleting and deactivating. But it turns out that theoretically I can reactivate. It’s dead easy apparently. And if I really want to permanently escape, I have to go back in there so I can get out properly – ie, delete. You know what? That sounds like a ruse I’ve fallen for far too many times in my life. So it’s not me dangling, it’s them. It’s you, Mark. Cos I’m away.
I was a late convert to FB. Very late. Embarking on a pretty scary freelance career, it felt like part of the package that I had to engage in social media. I was doing it for work. So, that’s okay, right? Well, turns out it’s not so easy to keep FB confined to work. Suddenly your personal life and your professional life are bleeding into each other. You find yourself eavesdropping, reading stuff, that keeps you horrified, riveted, and wondering where in the world you’re ever found time to do any actual work. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed a lot about FB. But ultimately, being on FB turned out to be exhausting. I felt bombarded by having to make decisions. And don’t get me started on the adverts and the fake news, or all the other stuff that’s been swilling about.
Anyway. I’ve quit. It feels a little strange. I don’t have to charge my phone quite as often. I feel more … calm. Less harried. And it turned out that FB really wasn’t that great at promoting my work. I don’t know if I attracted more than one or two people to my courses as a result of being on FB. Considering the amount of time I spent on it, that seems like a pretty poor return.
So the ultimate answer to the question, is that I quit FB to get my life back, my sense of self back, my sense of control back. And I do have this website, so it’s not like I’m spurning online self-promotion altogether.
Any advice on Twitter, anyone?
(UPDATE! On 20 March 2018, I went back in to delete permanently. 14 days to go and counting!)
I think FB really killed the blogosphere. I’ve been thinking about leaving ever since I listened to a Google ethicist (Sp?) talk about how they took lessons learned in the gambling industry and applied them to keeping people’s attention focused on FB.
Google ethicist sounds like an oxymoron! But FB really has become the medium through which so much interaction occurs, that while you’re engaged with it, it feels like an imperative, as essential almost as air or water. One of the things that ties in with you say, and that was one of the nails in the coffin for me, was reading somewhere that they deliberately designed Messenger so that if you opened a message the sender knew you’d looked at it, which created the social pressure to make you respond more quickly and keep you engaged. I just don’t want to be subject to that level of manipulation.
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I did hear /read somewhere that all the senior staff at FB enroll their kids in schools that have limited or zero social media policies ie they don’t want their children exposed.
Poet Kelli Agodon has a nice phrase with regard to FB. She says that posting to it is like giving herself a mini project, and she questions herself as to whether or not she has time for one or more mini projects.
I applaud you on your decision though. I think I’m still somewhat addicted.
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