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Two months ago, I got angry at the Facebook app, which for three days straight refused to reload updates. Instead it gave me the spinning wheel of death and ate up my time and precious battery power.
“Take that,” I said in my head to Mark Zuckerberg as I pressed firmly on the app, causing the twitching x to appear in the left hand corner. “I’m done with you.” Delete.
Those first few days without the social media obsession were hard. Waiting in line at the grocery store – or honestly, anywhere – I’d pull my phone out and my thumb would land on the spot that used to house Facebook.
“Oh, right,” I’d remind myself. “I’m mad at you, Facebook.” No offense intended to any of my 500+ friends and their newsy updates, complaints about the weather or latest vacation photos. I was making a point. Obviously.
I still received email notifications on my phone if someone tagged me or commented on one of my posts. In those instances I would log on through the web browser and get my little fix. But even that practice became less frequent as my super complicated ironclad password grew to be a pain in the ass to enter multiple times a day.
Then out of the blue, I started getting emails whenever a friend posted a photo or an update, whether I was tagged or not. After about a week of this inbox craziness, I got annoyed enough to turn off all email notifications.
I’m glad there isn’t an app that can calculate how much time over the past seven years I’ve wasted on Facebook. Do I miss the snarky comments, BuzzFeed quizzes or advertisements? I don’t know. I’m too busy reading a book, focusing on work or paying attention to the road even when traffic is at a standstill or the light is red.
I’m not ready to give up Facebook completely. We’re just on a break. For the most part, I limit my usage to posting within the closed groups I’m a part of or the occasional status update. Ironically, I will post this column. Think of it as my way of letting you know that if you really want my opinion, advice or validation, you can always call me. On the phone.
Chelsea Henderson is an aspiring novelist and recovering Capitol Hill staffer. When she isn’t sneaking time to finish writing her second book, she advocates on behalf of clean energy and environmental policy, reads, practices yoga, and single parents her perpetually hungry pre-teen boys. She also periodically contributes to her lifestyle blog, the Chelsea Chronicles and is intermittently good at Twitter.
I gave up FB for Lent this year. It was an eye opener. Went back on a limited basis – no app on phone & try to avoid checking at work (slipping on this lately!). I’ve also kept my friend list fairly small, so it doesn’t take me a whole lot of time to see what everybody is up to!
Facebook did seem to redefine what constitutes a “friend” – I knew the situation was out of hand when I had to go “de-friend” people whom I didn’t think I would recognize on the street if I bumped directly into them! Sigh…
This is great! It’s interesting, but I’ve done the same thing! For pretty much the same reasons. I don’t miss it on my phone at all and find myself checking in less and less. People have remarked on it. It’s mostly the same people complaining/bragging about the same things for years now. And I really don’t need to see any more photos of people’s meals. Including my own! heh!
For me it was complaints about the weather… even my own thoughts were growing boring to me!
omgosh, yes to this. I live in Minnesota and hey – it snows in the winter and gets hot in the summer. Do we have to act like it’s such a huge surprise? And I get you on the personal boring thoughts. I have nothing to say that’s funny! Great article.
Linda B says
I have avoided ever joining Facebook–I know it would consume way too much of me. I have been waving in this decision recently, but I want to stick to it!
Be strong! It is good for connected with people you don’t normally see, but it’s not worth wading through everything else to make that connection! And I’m more and more thinking I’m going to start writing old fashioned letters…
Phyllis Bourne says
Bravo, Chelsea! I only joined Facebook because I’m an author, and my readers are there. I’m not exactly sure how or when I went from checking it once a week to every hour or two. I took the app off my phone, but still peek at it on my web browser. I could use a divorce. LOL! And probably a restraining order.
I can be your restraining order, Phyllis! Just think of how much more writing you could do if you weren’t checking the newsfeed all the time, which is increasingly ads and decreasingly meaningful posts from friends!
Phyllis Bourne says
I’m going to take you up on that, Chelsea. Thanks to this post, I’ve only checked it once this morning.
I enjoy connecting with friends from all over on FB.
My battery and data plan situation are adequate limiting factors for me.
I do like to see what’s happening in the lives of people I don’t often see – but their updates don’t seem to rise to the top like they used to… I do still check out what’s happening, but maybe a few times a week instead of a few times an hour!
Ignorant Awareness says
That’s because Facebook keeps changing its algorithm – adding someone as a friend doesn’t guarantee you getting all their updates in your newsfeed. You have to either add them to a close friends list, or explicitly follow them on their profile. The more you interact with someone on Facebook, the more of their updates that you shall begin to see in your newsfeed.
As for your issue of getting emails about other people’s activities without wanting them, that is again due to Facebook’s sneaky algorithm – if you don’t log in for q certain amount of time, it starts doing that to try and tempt you to come back. I wanted to get email notifications that directly involve me (like tags and private messages) but I didn’t want just any old updates – so I had to click at the bottom of each of the unwanted emails and unsubscribe from that particular type of email notification.
It’s incredibly underhanded of Facebook to make you have to do that each time for every single type of email notification separately, but I’ve finally managed to get mine to the point where I only receive notifications from close friends and that’s it (regardless of how long it’s been since I last logged in).
Deactivating my account for a bit also helped, haha 😉
Morgan Rudder says
I deleted the app off my phone, but I still check it if I am on a computer, which is mostly during the work day. I like keeping up with friends I no longer see, etc. But, since I deleted the app and started downloading books onto my phone, I have read three great books I probably would not have read otherwise. It really makes you conscious of how you are spending your time.
Oh, what books? I’m always looking for new recommendations!
Morgan Rudder says
I read Wild, Missoula and It Was Me All Along, all great non-fiction. Right now I am reading Big Little Lies, which is a fun departure. I am also looking for new recommendations.
Have you read the Engagements? I loved that one. I’m reading Funny Girl right now and it’s fantastic!
Phyllis Bourne says
I loved Big Little Lies.
I liked it, but Girl on a Train and the Accident were better!
I gave up Facebook (for the most part) last October. I had just run a 1/2 marathon that I had spent the summer training for and it made me realize all the things I could be accomplishing if I wasn’t constantly scrolling down that news feed several times a day. I don’t know that I’ve actually accomplished a lot, other than doing more training for another 1/2 marathon, but I don’t miss Facebook.
It’s pretty amazing how much more productive you can be without the constant feed checking!