I’ve been getting a lot of messages from people asking if I’m still on Facebook, since they aren’t seeing much come from me anymore. In a short answer, yes. I’m still around.
In a much more drawn out answer, I’m still there, but not remotely in the same capacity that I was before. Shortly after the CT shootings and just before the holidays, I decided it was time to take a break from FB. 🙂 When I say “break”, I mean a complete break, as in no FB at all, and short of one status update to wish everyone Happy Holidays, I did so for 7 days.
There are 2 primary things that I discovered by taking this break. 1) That I waste WAY too much time on Facebook everyday. I was brutally shocked at how much “extra” time I had on my hands when I opted to shut down the web browser instead of bring up Facebook. It was a real eye-opener. Now, I’m not saying all time on FB is a waste, just the ratio of productive and pleasant “keep up with friends & family” time is far overshadowed by the mindless, game playing, news filtering time.
My 2) realization was the huge improvement in my mood. Not having the constant negativity of depressing news (whether correct or incorrect), people bickering, and constant tweaking of my filters and frequent use of the “hide” button to remove unwanted content lifted my spirits far further than I would’ve expected. I never realized how much all that stuff was affecting me. Again, not all content on FB is depressing, but the ratio of good, happy or neutral content is far overshadowed by the depressing content.
I stopped watching the local news reports decades ago because of the negative effect it had on my moods. Who knew I’d have the same issues with social networking. I think it’s important to know what’s going on in the world, but it doesn’t need to be in my face everyday, and there are any number of legitimate news sources I can frequent at my convenience.
While I still love the idea of being able to stay up to speed on those that I care about, and being able to share with those people things in my life, I’ve come to conclude that Facebook is now primarily the equivalent of a 85% incorrect news report with editorials. All of this content, along with Facebook’s limitations on what you get in your newsfeed, has made it far too difficult and time consuming to sift through to find the meaningful stuff. It reminds me very much of MySpace now (which I never got into) because of all the crap one has to get through to get to the meat of anything.
If it wasn’t for Social Fixer, which has made huge strides to improve the situation, I probably would give up Facebook entirely. But instead, I’ve done some major tweaking and will be limiting my FB time to no more than 20 minutes/day, which is why you don’t see me on there much anymore. Thanks to phone apps, I can get FB messages without having to be on Facebook, but if you really want to reach me, email is your best option.
So, if you don’t see me commenting much, please don’t take it personally. I really wish Facebook was still a viable option to keep up with people on a personal level, but it is what it is. Perhaps, in time, something new will come along…