I’ve been thinking about quitting Facebook for years. Who hasn’t? When I started thinking about it, it was because the site was so addictive, and I was wasting so much time there. But could I walk away from all those fun interactions with my friends? Plus, it would surely get better and more fun over time, right?
Of course, it has only gotten worse. Meaningful interactions with friends have plummeted, and they’ve been replaced with ads, political rantings, carefully crafted self-promotion, and an ever rising sea of what can only be described as utter bullshit.
Still, through it all, there have been a few people on FB I genuinely want to hear from, so I’ve stuck with the platform.
But I think what has finally convinced me to pull the plug is that the dopamine hit of the red Facebook alert has mutated into a pulse of dread. The chance that red notification indicates that someone has commented on my post, or written me personally has basically dropped to near zero. Instead, the majority of Facebook notifications are for some action Facebook itself wants me to take (pay to get more likes on your page!), or an event I’ll never go to, or just the boring, content-free, pointless, “like.” — one of several Facebook innovations vying for the title of Facebooks Worst Contribution to Society.
The platform is also just positively dreary, and getting more so every day. I mean, you want to have a threaded conversation? You want to format a post? You want to control and filter your news feed? At this point, I think we can all see that none of things — elements that are the basic tools of people who actually want to communicate — are ever coming. I marvel at how so many talented people working in concert can produce such an utterly loathsome final product. I even wonder if Facebook itself is an experiment in determining how much degradation users will absorb before they abandon a platform and its powerful network effects. A lot, it turns out!
As it happens, I won’t actually be quitting Facebook. I curate a few pages there for professional or business reasons, and, as far as I can tell, I must do so through my linked personal account. But I have already curtailed posting on FB, and I will be checking in less, too.
I still want to hear from you! If you want to get a hold of me, and know my real identity, I encourage you to contact me using Plain Old Email, or send me an SMS or Google Chat. If you contact me on FB, it might be awhile before you hear back. For those that don’t know me personally, you can reach me right here on this blog.
Speaking of Tools of Our Tools. You may be wondering whether I will attempt to revive this blog. I don’t know. I started blogging with a desire to foster good-faith, minimally interested (though, hopefully interesting!) discussions on topics about which I care. The past few years have witnessed nothing but a withering, ceaseless assault on the kind of honest discussion I enjoy, making this blog ever more quixotic.
On the other hand, maybe rather than helping save the world, blogging is just about saving my own sanity.
What would you recommend?