Leaving Facebook

To become more productive, I’ve decided to leave Facebook. Thanks to RescueTime, I’ve realized the ridiculous amount of time that I spend scrolling down my NewFeed. Unfortunately Facebook has lost its purpose and I use too much time-consuming useless information.

In the old days I used social media for connecting with other people and to stay in touch with friends. As I’ve moved around the country many of these friendships have faded. People I once interacted in person are no longer part of my life. As a result, we don’t communicate with each other online.

Deleting friends is possible but whether this is a useful action is subject to debate. On the average day, I communicate with around five people on Facebook. This could be through comments, likes, or messages. These people I interact with don’t fluctuate often, and usually talk to same five people regularly.

I would say that this concept holds true for other users as well. Most people go online to interact with people they know and to see what is going on in their lives. When you meet someone new, you add them on Facebook. They get added into your NewsFeed and you’re suddenly subject to their likes and the posts that they comment on.

Users rack up friends, and according to Facebook, the average teenager has 300 of them. These “friends” interact with their five contacts that they talk with regularly. These interactions are displayed on your NewsFeed, regardless of whether they are relevant to you.

Now I know what you’re thinking: you can hide friends if you don’t want to see their content or their interactions. This would be a fantastic solution if Facebook didn’t prioritize your friends’ posts. Here’s an example:

If you have five friends: Jimmy, Nate, Keith, Angela, and Barbra. Nate is your closest friend and you interact with him the most in real life. However, Angela has more friends on Facebook than Nate. By having more friends, she most likely has more “likes” on her posts. On your Newsfeed, Angela will appear more than anyone else.

This means more actions taken by Angela will be displayed on your Newsfeed. If she comments on a meme or a funny video, bam that meme is now on your feed. When she likes another person’s photo, it will display on your page. You don’t even have to be friends with the person who she liked.

Jumping back to Nate, who posts regularly but doesn’t get as much interaction, you won’t see his posts. He’ll write a status asking if any friends want to go hiking but he won’t get any comments because he’s not as “popular” as Angela.

You could hide Angela but you are friends in real life and you interact with each other regularly. She’s great but you don’t want to see every post that she likes. However, due to Facebook’s current set-up, she doesn’t have a say in the matter. She just gets more interaction.

Jimmy, Keith, and Barbra, are average users. They are close friends but, again, are overshadowed by Angela. They have more interaction than Nate, so you very rarely see his posts – even though you comment on his photos/statuses more than anyone else’s.

In the end, the people who have the most friends and the most interactions end up on your NewsFeed.

Facebook claimed that the average user was subject to around 1,500 posts daily. This is a large number and clearly needs to sifted through. That’s why they display the most popular content: you’re much more likely to interact with it.

People have complained about this problem with popularity before. As a result, Facebook now features a button where you can select popular content or the most recent posts. While this is a great idea, it’s easily flawed:

Personally, I can select “most recent posts”, which changes my Newsfeed. Everyone is treated equally and all 300 of my friends will get a (more) equal share of my feed. This overloads my page with people whom I have no interaction with. To make the situation worse, other people don’t use this function.

While my Newsfeed is now the “most recent posts”, the people who interact with my content aren’t seeing it. The reason I log on Facebook is to interact with friends and respond to their interactions with my content. If I can’t see their content and they can’t see mine, why am I even here?

I’m choosing to leave Facebook because I’m both frustrated at this model which I’ve explained, and to become more productive. If I can’t use Facebook to see the content that I want, I’ve determined that I no longer want to use it at all. It’s too easy to spend a half an hour scrolling through a NewsFeed of people I don’t interact with. May as well blog or do something else.

239/365

Oh, Veritasium did a Youtube video on it!

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2 thoughts on “Leaving Facebook

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