This morning, for the first time since nearly February, I disabled News Feed Eradicator and took a look at my Facebook news feed.
I turned it back on about ten minutes later.
The Dark Side
I’ve noticed since I (mostly) left Facebook, I’ve been feeling more isolated, and less in-the-loop. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I like my space – but at times it can be rough. I had thought, perhaps, that turning the news feed back on, maybe I’d see something new or interesting that would spark a conversation and draw me back in. I thought that maybe my inactivity would have changed what showed up enough for it to feel like a less shitty place.
And yeah, the first thing I saw was a picture of a rainbow that my SIL posted. It was beautiful. The second? A post about a very sad dog that’s been in a shelter for the whole 18 months of her life. And, being hormonal and dog-loving, I cried. What followed were a slew of posts about the local Maine Manhunt, ads, more depressing pictures/posts, and fake-happy motivational quotes. Oh, and baby pictures.
So, essentially, three months later Facebook is still Facebook. Perhaps I shouldn’t have expected anything less. But damnit, I really wanted it to be better.
I wanted it to be better so I didn’t feel the guilt of saying no when asked “Did you see my Facebook post?”. I wanted it to be better so I could re-connect with groups that inspire and motivate me. I wanted it to be better so I didn’t feel quite so excluded from everything going on around me.
The truth remains, though, that it’s a platform that has too much of my data, compromised my data (turns out I was one of the 87 million+ people that Cambridge Analytica had info on), and effects my emotions in a way that I don’t like. Less than two minutes on the platform and I’m crying over dogs. It feels gross.
That being said, I still don’t see myself deleting my account any time soon. More because of the sentimental value, than anything.
The first long conversation I had with my husband happened on Facebook Messenger waaayyyy back in 2010. (I creeped and added him even though I had literally seen him twice. He messaged me. We talked about video games. A modern love story.)
Both of my dogs, and my cat Maddy, were introduced to me through Facebook posts. Without the platform I wouldn’t have all this cuteness.
I still regularly check the “On This Day”. Usually afterwards I hate my younger self a little bit more But sometimes it shows a gem that brings back old – but wonderful – memories.
Plus, the number of services I’d have to create new logins for if I deleted my FB account is huge – it would take days to get that all sorted out since I, stupidly, tend to click “Login with Facebook” instead of, you know, creating a password.
I know this is by design, of course. Facebook wanted to become so entangled in the social mesh and personal lives of its users that it was almost impossible to eradicate. Growth at all costs, right? Manipulating users’ emotions and lives is what they’re down for.
So I guess for now, News Feed Eradicator says on. And unless FB implements better news feed controls that let you better control the content you see, it’s probably going to stay on. And I’ll stay on the fringe – a passive participant. Because, at this point in my life, I have better things to do than be spoon-fed information by an algorithm.
The Bright Side (Or… The Light Side? Jedi? Idk.)
On the bright side, since being off Facebook I’ve been much more productive. Been busting out work I don’t think would have been possible if I was still tied to the platform.
I’ve also been reading more about what interests me. I mean, I’ve always been one of those people who loves RSS feeds. I’ve been using Feedly for nearly 6 years, and use it daily. But since leaving FB, I’ve taken more time to scroll through it and actually read what interests me now that I’m not as distracted with finding content to share.
I’ve also allowed myself to wean off other platforms. I’m not using Pinterest or Insta as much – only when I want to post or am looking for inspiration. I’m still (and always will be) a Twitter fiend, but I’ve started cleaning up my old tweets and sorting my account out so it’s a bit more curated and a bit more reflective of myself, now, rather than myself when I was 18.
Spoiler alert: we’re both opinionated and obnoxious. Just about different things.
Overall I think I feel like I’m living a little more intentionally than I used to. Which was the goal. So, I suppose the pros out-weight the cons.