July 1, 2020
4 minute read
I’ve been on Facebook since 2010. This week I decided it was time to let go. I agree with Elon Musk’s statement, Facebook is lame. It didn’t used to be.
In 2014-2016 I made efforts to reduce my time spent on the platform and unfollowed all my Facebook friends. My feed was just an empty void, which sometimes hilariously struggled to load literally nothing. It would sit there with an eternal throbber or present some sort of error like it was Facebook’s infrastructure at fault. And, in a way, it was indeed Facebook’s fault, that I didn’t want to see anyone’s posts.
At some point around 2014-2015 they ruined the usefulness of the feed for keeping up with your friends by switching to a algorithmic order of posts, instead of chronologically. This meant that Facebook decided what was most relevant for me and what didn’t matter, and like most decisions made for you instead of by you, it was wrong. I saw even more posts that I didn’t want to see and found I was unfollowing people simply because Facebook decided that I should see more of their posts in my feed. Yes, there was a way to switch back to the Most Recent view, but it never stuck and sometimes it didn’t work at all.
Thus, the feed was rendered completely useless and since I was unfollowing people every day, I decided to go all the way and unfollowed everyone.
In 2016 I really wanted to completely delete my account, however at the time I was holding on because I was being invited to events (parties) a lot via the platform. Facebook was definitely the way to organize events.
However, due to current events, no one is throwing parties or meetups. Thus, Facebook Events is now useless to me.
Facebook Groups was good for a while, but it suffered the same issue with the feed, except worse, since some of the groups I was in had hundreds of people. I decided these also were useless, since very little of the content interested me anymore.
So if the feed, events, and groups are no longer useful, what is the point of staying on Facebook? Marketplace and its integration with Messenger is very good and one of the fastest ways to sell your stuff online, but I don’t have anything to sell right now and I can always use the myriad of Craigslist and clones out there with equal effect. When events start happening again, the people that matter the most have my number. And keeping up with everyone else’s lives is exhausting, I’d rather have a good one-on-one catching up conversation than see it in a feed or story.
Speaking of stories, I deleted Snapchat and Instagram as well. Snapchat due to not using it anymore, I only had 2-3 friends that regularly sent me snaps on there and many of my old Snapchat contacts had moved on. I deleted Instagram just because it’s such a time sink and most of the content doesn’t interest me anymore.
I also really dislike the ‘stories’ format inspired by Snapchat and then copied by Facebook across all their apps. I don’t need minute-by-minute video updates of people’s lives.
And then there’s the content garbage that media/“influencer” companies pollute the platforms with. Snapchat’s stories page looks like the magazine rack at a gas station with all the clickbait titles and attention-grabbing imagery. Instagram is full of bad meme images, pixelated Twitter screenshots, and content ripped off of TikTok (don’t get me started on that platform).
Privacy-wise, there’s a lot of concerns and every new article on Facebook privacy irks me just a little bit more, though I’m not a diehard privacy advocate. I still have and use a Google account, I shop on Amazon (although much less recently due to long shipping times, I cancelled Prime), and I am still on Twitter, although the latter I have also stopped using as much as I used to. Maybe I will get rid of that too, but I have not decided yet.
I will always appreciate the good experiences I had with Facebook and Instagram, and that’s a good mindset for anything you’re letting go. The good days are long gone though and it’s time to move on. If any of my Facebook friends need to contact me, the important people have my phone number.