Today marks five weeks that I have not signed in to facebook. I found that my use had creeped up again, with regular thoughts such as ‘I should check facebook’ fueling the compulsion. I felt obligated to sign in to a website; to reassure myself that I wasn’t missing any attempts at communication.
Overall, the majority of information on the site was really 1) negative political posts about various forms of government in various countries, 2) slander campaigns against ideas with which posters do not agree, 3) complaints, 4) annoying memes, 5) random app invites.
None of these things filled me with happiness or made me feel a positive compulsion to sign-in; it was the social obligation that kept me returning and apathetically scrolling through page after page for something interesting or useful updates on people’s lives.
I realised that it unnecessary in my life, so put up a cover photo saying I was taking a break (recognising that this only works for those who actually visit my page) and stopped signing in!
I have broken the habit now, which is nice, but I wanted to post about what facebook has in place to try to keep people addicted to the obligation to ‘not miss out’ and play their role as voracious consumers.
After I had been off the site for three weeks, I began to receive email messages notifying me of what I was missing.
No big deal, right? WRONG. I received not one but two messages each day for a week:
April 5th: (deleted the first one); 5:51pm
April 6th: 10:45am; 7:14pm
April 7th: 11:38am; 5:52pm
April 8th: 10:50am; 7:52pm
April 9th: 11:45am; 6:13 pm
April 10th: 10:52am; 7:19pm
April 11th: 10:31; 4:54pm
It has now since reduced to one email a day, which is still far too many. While I understand that it is trying to get me to wonder what those notifications, messages and friend requests could be, I don’t understand how cluttering my emails and mind would build for me a positive association with the website!
There’s no need to fear that some life changing information or contact will be missed by not signing in to some website (unless, for instance, it was a government website on crucial tax or immigration information). If someone really needs to find me, they can email, phone or even reach out through my wife. If it were ever that urgent.
Yes, I have been off of facebook for five weeks, and I am not sure when I’ll go back.
This is a very good way to declutter your life if you ask me!