To follow up on my recent post about considering leaving facebook, I have decided not to leave but to change/refine my rules of engagement. Broadly this means only visiting facebook intentionally for a limited scope of reasons. Specifically, for each of the use cases I laid out in the previous post, this is my current approach:
- Social Graph / Rolodex / Discovering Whom I Know in Various Places / Discovering Social Worlds Colliding: I’m continuing to use facebook for this purpose, as well as LinkedIn.
- Sharing Updates and Pictures: I very occasionally share significant personal updates on facebook. Mostly I post small stuff on twitter, more substantive updates here on this blog, and professional updates on LinkedIn. I keep pictures in Google Photos and post periodic links to those pictures in facebook. I share pictures of my child – which are in much greater demand than pictures of me – through links in a monthly email update to family and friends who have opted in.
- Seeing Updates and Pictures: I keep up with content from others on a one-to-one basis via text and Signal. This means I miss out on some important updates but it also means that my interactions with others are generally more personal.
- Groups: I left most of my facebook groups and remained in the ~5 I was using the most. Most of my small group communication is now done on Signal, with some on Discord.
- Supporting and Honoring Others: I’m continuing to use facebook for this purpose.
- Asking Advice: I’m continuing to use facebook for this purpose, as well as Signal and twitter.
- Birthdays: I’m continuing to use facebook for this purpose, as well as LinkedIn.
- Fundraiser: I’m continuing to use facebook for this purpose.
My new normal is spending about 10 targeted minutes a day on facebook and posting most of my content on other platforms. If you would like to engage more substantively with me, please join me on Signal! It’s an excellent messaging app run by a transparent nonprofit.
Thank you to everyone who provided thoughtful feedback/advice, including the following (in no particular order) suggestions:
- Trustroots (a facebook competitor)
- Telegram for chat, groups, and media sharing among friends (a Signal competitor)
- When using facebook, let your notifications be your feed rather than browsing through the overwhelming amount of info in your feed.
- Shut down your account and start a new, bare bones account so that Zuck won’t have your info.
- Change facebook settings so that you don’t see targeted ads.
- Use facebook on desktop only to eliminate the temptation to browse it mindlessly on your phone.
- Cull your friends list to increase Signal-to-Noise Ratio.
- Mixing social engagement with news is overwhelming so eliminate news from your facebook feed.
- More people should have blogs so that we can use feedly (or similar) as our feed.