WHAT I’VE LEARNED SIX MONTHS AFTER FACEBOOK ZERO
How disabling the News Feed has changed my life.
It’s been more than half a year since I unfollowed every single friend and page I have on Facebook.
It was a compromise at the time, between two conflicting forces. I didn’t like how much time I was spending on the social media site, but I couldn’t leave it because of work, and I thought this halfway x between deleting and keeping my Facebook account would help.
So how has it been living in Facebook Zero for months on end?
Liberating. My world didn’t end in re and brimstone, dogs and cats didn’t live together, and there was no mass hysteria of any kind.
Instead, I’m surprised how quickly having nothing on my News Feed has killed my interest in Facebook. Without the promise of cute puppy pictures, food porn or loquacious rants, there was really nothing pushing me to open up the site or the app.
I feel calmer now with one less thing to obsessively check, and better that I’m not emotionally caught up with the latest dramas that, in hindsight, has little to do with my life.
The experience hasn’t always been perfect. I miss out on posts from friends, when a friend had cute baby photos I had to hear about it from my wife. I miss a friend’s updates on his awesome artwork, and his wife’s beautiful posts on cooking.
Plus, when I was scheduled to y to Bali for a work trip, I completely missed out on the news of an impending volcanic eruption. And I won’t be a hypocrite; I recently organized a successful event, just using Facebook.
But for all the good that Facebook can do, I still wouldn’t trade my newfound oasis of peace by reactivating the News Feed. I realize that I can’t kill my account entirely, but I don’t want to be re-addicted to the site again.
And there’s one more thing that disturbs me about Facebook more than anything else: How the key resource at stake when you use Facebook is your mind. The ongoing investigation in the United States about how Russia could have waged psychological warfare to influence the 2016 US presidential elections underscores this to me more than anything else.
Facebook isn’t just about your social network anymore. Facebook is a cash grab for your state of mind, whether from drama queens who want your attention, multinational corporations who want you to buy a product, or politicians that want you to get on message. And I don’t want any part of it.
Finally, a friend of mine told me something after I talked to him about going Facebook Zero, and it turns out to be the best reason I have to recommend others try it as well.
Unlike me, this friend completely deleted his Facebook account. When I asked him why, he said he’d realized he spent too much time on the lives of others than his own.
That, to me, is the key reason why I’m never going back to Facebook’s News Feed.