I’ve made a conscious decision to spend less time on Facebook. I was going to start this post by saying “with regret” but actually that’s not it at all. I couldn’t really care less and I don’t think anyone else could either, which is kind of the whole point.
I’m not leaving it or deleting my account, just breaking the cycle of checking it twice a day or more and posting just to perpetuate others’ habits.
So, why the step back? For a while I’ve felt uneasy about the addictive nature of it. I reached a stage where even though I didn’t particularly like it any more I was still feeling scared of missing out. I thought I’d initially just not look at it for a week and see if I missed it. I didn’t. And I haven’t been back on since. For about a month. Now I really sound like an addict. :)
I found that even though I have 150+ “friends”, there weren’t many active users. I was only interacting with the same handful regularly. I also think that there are probably a whole host of others who just go on, read, but never post or interact – just voyeurs. This not knowing who’s watching/listening makes me uneasy. I post on Twitter but that’s just public. I only write on there anything that I’m happy for anyone to read, and it’s generally very dull unless you’re really into web development when it’s just moderately dull. :)
Another issue for me was that it was making me dislike people who I do genuinely like in real life. People present a persona on social media and it can be quite different from the real person.
There’s a lot of bragging, attention seeking, fishing for compliments and campaigning, all of which I can live without.
Some people, who are great company in reality are just painfully boring on Facebook. There are a lot of what I’d call “single issue posters”. So, everything from that person is about a political party, a sports team, a band or their kids. Sorry, it’s not personal, but I just don’t share your interest.
It’s not all ridding myself of a terrible affliction. There is a down side too. There are a few people who post the occasional gem which makes me laugh a lot. And I do get to hear about some things that interest me.
I can’t help feeling that the people who really matter to me still matter without Facebook. Whereas I once saw Facebook as a convenient tool for keeping in touch and extending reality, it’s now become something else, a place for people to present themselves through very controlled filters. Everyone’s doing a PR job on themselves.
I’ll probably be back at some point but for now I just feel better staying well away from it all.