WHAT I’VE LEARNED SIX MONTHS AF­TER FACE­BOOK ZERO

How dis­abling the News Feed has changed my life.

HWM (Singapore) - - THINK - By Alvin Soon

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.

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