Sorry if this post is a bit long, I appreciate who ever takes the time to read and answer.
This is my first post, I tried looking if there was already one like this but I could not seem to find it. First of all I’m so happy that this forum exists and that we all here can help each other tackle the issues of the modern technology. I’m a 23 year old swedish student which means I’ve had Facebook for almost all my life since I left childhood. Started at 14 I think. The last couple of years it has become clear to me that social media as it works today is not something I enjoy or benefit from. And I truly believe it puts great challenges on our democratic and social system. Both in the small ways (experiencing constant FOMO living in a university city where there is always somewhere to be) or in the big ways of not knowing what sources to trust in the upcoming Swedish election because of fake news. I have already quit Instagram and snapshat and it has not been hard at all so far, I wasn’t a very active user to start with and has not had those apps for nearly as long as Facebook. Now I’m on the fence on leaving Facebook and would love to hear other peoples thoughts. Maybe people who have left or has decided to stay but have changed their relationship with the site. My problem is a couple of things.
Reasons I hesitate leaving Facebook:
I found this site through Facebook and so many other interesting research, people, groups of likeminded etc. I’m afraid I won’t be able to find these things as easy or at all without Facebook.
most of my schools group projects organizes on Facebook, being the only one outside would put me at a disadvantage in communications and planing of my schoolwork.
most of my social events and cultural events gets planned and advertised on Facebook, I’d probably miss friends parties or good concerts without it. ( Or maybe not, here someone might have experience and can ease my worries)
I might loose contact with old friends that I rarely see but still enjoy being able to contact from time to time.
My dream is to pressure research within social media or internet and the impact on society, is it completely strange then to “step out”? will I loose the perspective needed to become a good researcher in this field? (I’m only an undergraduate but I’m looking for a masters with digital media and society and I really believe this is the way I want to go career wise. Maybe there are more like me in regards to this?)
The reasons I want to leave Facebook:
I waste so much time on it that is not time well spent.
I believe it makes me more worried and unhappy as a person compared to interacting IRL
I don’t support the way people behave on Facebook and do not want to be part of such a destructive and hateful culture.
*I don’t support the business model and think it is a danger in many ways to society.
I feel right now that I’m stuck in a place where I want to leave but are afraid of the risks that comes with it, of course I could just try quoting for a while and see how that feels, but I’d love to have a discussion with people here in regards of quitting social media or just changing the way you use it!
You bring up some great points. This is a question I often throw around myself: whether or not to stay on Facebook.
I think the biggest takeaway I get is learning how to moderate. I find Facebook to be a great tool in connecting with new people while keeping in touch with old friends. As you mentioned, it’s also great to use when attending or planning get-togethers or parties. Ironically, I’ve been using it for The Low Tech Trek Facebook Group in order to discuss these topics.
It’s important to not get trapped in checking Facebook all of the time. I catch myself doing this some times. I also made a choice to not have a smartphone, so this makes it much easier for me to not have Facebook tethered to me at all times, though I understand that smartphones are an essential part of life for most people.
Ultimately, the decision is your own. I think it’s a great start to delete other apps. You just have to analyze if the positives of Facebook outweigh the negatives or visa-versa. Feel free to check out our website, thelowtechtrek.com for more information on related topics!
First of all congratulations! You’ve made the right choice because now you’ll have so much more mental peace and free time to put to better uses.
What I suggest is keep your Facebook account deactivated, that way nobody will be able to see you so you won’t be wasteing their time either. You’ll still be able to use messenger.com and the messenger app.
Occasionally, say once a month, whenever you feel the need to spy on your friends, or lookup socal causes, log in but the immediatly deactiveate again and don’t come back for another month.
Yeah I think that might be a good start actually, to keep the messaging but remove the app. Because that is where I waste the most time. Then maybe over time I can try i move my conversations from Facebook to other messaging options. I will look in to that option more, thanks!
Yes it is quite tricky, it comes with a lot of great tools but might be built on a model that I simply can’t support. Not having a smartphone would feel impossible at least now because my work and schedule is sort of depending on it but it is also something I’d like to try in the future. I’ll check out the site, thanks!
I loved your thoughtful contemplation.
This is such a strange time for us to all balance our personal “why” and then “how” we choose to engage, re engage, or disengage from any and all of these platforms.
For myself, deactivating and deleting, and then setting times and perimeters to engage and set a timer help me use the tools as opposed to feeling like the tools are using me. Just like any other set of goals I hope to accomplish, I put in what I need it for, and how long I will give myself to do it, and try to stick to that framework.
All of this is a matter of conscious awareness, in that you can make any decision and feel autonomous in your choices.
I’ve been experimenting with modified Facebook usage lately, and it’s been interesting. There are several parts:
Unlike and unfollow, then don’t like or follow. “Liking” someone’s page or profile just increases their impression that they have a huge Facebook audience they shouldn’t walk away from. If I want to support a business, artist, performer, or cause, I should do something more active than “liking” it on Facebook. Those “likes” aren’t actually helping, they make me feel like I helped, but they don’t actually help anyone but Facebook.
Don’t use the “like” buttons on posts. At all. If I feel like I want to show support to someone, it should be through sending them a message or calling them and being personal, not through some performative, counted social metric. It also affects comment placement in comments on public pages, because most-“liked” comments float to the top algorithmically.
Don’t comment except to add information (like links to relevant, authoritative third-party content that pertains to a discussion—news stories, Snopes, etc.) or to contribute to an ongoing discussion in a context where the topic is explicitly about discussing something in an open forum—like this very thread is. Again, if I have something to say about a topic to a friend, I’m doing it over Messenger instead of in the threaded comments.
Don’t share things unless they’re 1) something I really feel like everyone needs to see, such as current events/news or something urgent and community-related, or 2) really significant, beautiful, or life-affirming posts that will add to someone’s day. (This morning I shared photos taken by someone aboard the space station. It improved my morning to see it, and it’s not a funny meme or something trashing someone.)
Hide ads whenever they show up.
One of the outcomes of this is that, with less ad content and only following the posts of people I actually know, there’s less fodder for the algorithm to offer whenever I refresh my FB feed, less novel content for it to mix in with friends’ posts, and so I see the same posts by friends more repeatedly, and with less and less in between. It reduces the pleasure of using Facebook, and makes it easier to walk away or put it down and not miss it.
Because I’m not liking or commenting on posts, less notifications appear about activity in posts.
Because I’m avoiding engaging in arguments on the platform, I’m less stressed and anxious about it, and don’t feel a need to go check and see if anyone’s either supported my argument (with “likes” or comments) or responded to it.
It’s also made it increasingly obvious how little standard-issue “social media” really adds to my life that isn’t basically a “feature” meant to make me more addicted to it without adding real value.
Great points @joseadna! They not only work to improve your own dealings with FB, but help improve the network as a whole.
I would like to point to an earlier topic I created, stating that while FB has been ‘weaponised’, this weapon is also lying around to use for good purposes, such as the procedures you suggest. Here’s the topic: Idea - Turning the weapon around
thank you for the clear and honest schematisation of pros and cons.
From my experience, I have quit Facebook a couple of years ago and I don’t regret it at all.
Maybe I’m a special case, but I got completely saturated and sick of updates from people I knew or anyway linked to since the creation of my account. I felt like a cloud that surrounded me every step I took. I started by hiding a lot of people, then unfriending them. At the end I realised I just wanted to leave all of it.
After quitting Facebook, I opened an Instagram account, without connecting with people I already know, but looking for inspiring strangers. I post there expressions of my passions (guitar videos, paintings, …), some pictures or thoughts, with proper hashtags in order to get more easily found by interested people. I follow anyone I like and I unfollow anyone I don’t like anymore, without even thinking a second about it.
In this way I got rid of the suffocating cloud and I can discover new good posts and people around things I love. I also looked deeper into myself, out of the usual confort zone, and I better realised who among people I know I really feel a connection with, without tricks and shortcuts, birthdays reminders, ‘send a hug’ and stuff.
Joseadna I think you have some great suggestions. I have actually started with the unlike process and it makes you realize how many stupid and irrelevant things you like when you are 15 haha. So hopefully my feed will change with that. The idea to not like but only write when i truly feel I can contribute is also a good suggestion. Especially since you pointed out that it gives me less notifications which scatters my attention. I’m already quite the passive user who usually doesn’t write that much so it is a small step to stop liking as well. Maybe doing these things will make it easier to quit completely because I still think I want out in the end.
Thank you for your input! I understand how you use instagram and that is a feature about instagram that I can miss being a part of. I am also interested in art and creative content and that seems to be a good forum for it now a days. Being out of Facebook does not affect your social life in a negative way?
Close friends: no need for a platform that does the link
Not so close friends: do I really need their updates?
Geographically far friends: I can ask for an email address, or a phone number and use WhatsApp to stay in touch
Social events: do I really need to be invited via Facebook or to get to know a good concert through what my friends know?
Social activities: Whatsapp groups are good for thematic groups to organize themselves (i.e. beach volleyball group)
Work/study: an environment where people outside Facebook are discriminated it’s not something where I want to be anyway.
Facebook is too big and totalitarian as social media, maybe because it was the first prototype… it aims to cover every aspect of your social life. Better some lighter medium like Instagram and WhatsApp (or Twitter?) to satisfy specific needs.
If you think you need een online tool for Work/Study you could consider LinkedIn, @Freja.
Its good for professional networks and finding a job later on, and you get an interesting feed if you build it strategically. LinkedIn Groups - though limited in functionality - can be used to share information for projects, etc.
And - importantly - you might be able to convince your peers to use that instead of FB
PS Both Instagram and Whatsapp are owned by FB, so just as totalitarian
Like @joseadna I also started using the “tweaked FB approach”.
My steps were:
I manually unfollowed everything and everyone last year. It was a time consuming process at the time because I really wanted to see an empty timeline and just get the feel of not having the FB feed to look at. I did this because I was always “caught” in the infinite scroll loop and I hated myself for spending hours scrolling mindlessly.
After this massive unfollow session I achieved an empty feed. But it only lasted for a couple of days, because FB doesn’t make it easy for you to see every single page or profile that you follow. So I kept unfollowing additional stuff for the next couple of days.
I included a handful of real life friends and family members in my “Close Friends” list so that I could at least view notifications when they posted something on the upper right bar. I live abroad and my family still uses FB to communicate with me.
Since the FB algorithm insisted on showing me content (even though I had unfollowed everything, or I though I had) I decided to install a browser extension to block my timeline and replace the space with a daily quote.
I kept a handful of groups I still used to share information. And this was the only section of FB that I checked regularly.
I don’t use the “like” buttons. I only comment on group treads to share useful information and help people.
I started to not miss FB. I felt that having to manually enter a group instead of receiving an automated feed with the updated gave me back control.
Today I wonder if I want to delete my account and the only reason I didn’t do it is because I get value from the few groups I am part of.
But I wonder if forums like this one wouldn’t be a better place to discuss and share ideas. I don’t like FB’s group interface. I think it’s messy and polluted. I think I prefer the old internet forum format without all these notifications and automated feeds.
Deep inside I hope that this the beginning of the end of FB. Somehow I am having nostalgic feelings about the old bulletin board systems . Am I the only one?
But I may have mixed feelings about not needing any digital platform to connect with people. I think the internet can be a great tool to share ideas and then organize face-to-face meetings. The problem is how the tool is made. FB is in its essence is a great idea but the execution is a disaster.
I agree with you that more specific tools like LinkedIn can offer a more valuable experience.