So I’ve decided to give up Facebook in 2012.
After 6 fun years of liking, poking, and checking out my friends’ hot sisters, I feel like it’s time to hang up the big blue F once and for all.
I put up the message today and got some nice supportive likes. A few good friends even sent me messages to check I was OK. Most people are asking why, so I thought I’d put down my reasons here. I’m not saying I’m right or wrong: these are just my reasons.
1. The supermarket theory
I’ve tumbled this one before, and it’s been playing on my mind more and more in the last year. What does Facebook sell? It sells us, and I’m don’t think I’m happy with my identity, personality and social life being a product.
It’s hardly black and white though. When I talked about this with some journalists in Barcelona over Tapas recently they argued that it’s the same with newspapers and all media content: the product is us, the audience, and the mass media sell access to us to advertisers.
Everyone has their own views on this. I don’t think Zuckerburg is evil or anything - quite the opposite.
2. The algorithm
Because Facebook wants to maximise its deliveries to external websites (in other words, how many hits to websites come from Facebook) experts believe it prioritises people in your feed who post links to articles, Youtube videos and the like.
It means my feed is full of the people who talk the most, not the ones I’m most interested in. While on Facebook I’ve regularly posted funny videos and links, so no doubt I repeatedly bother the feeds of people who I haven’t spoken to in years. I’m sure they’ll be glad to be rid of me.
3. The experiment
After 6 years on Facebook (I joined as a student back in early 2006) I’m really curious to see what will happen when I leave. With all my friends, current and old on there, what will I miss out on? Its big use is organising events - so will I stop getting invited to houseparties and nights out?
4. The television theory
About two years ago I drastically cut back on the amount of television I watch. These days there is perhaps one or two shows a week I watch regularly and a few shows I get online. But in total it must be about 3 hours a week - a lot less than the 28 hours a week the average Brit consumes.
The result? I got my life back. I’ve had time to write more, work more, read more and think more. I’m hoping quitting Facebook will do the same.
5. The time
And so the real reason I’m giving up Facebook is time. It’s just too much of a distraction and I’m not strong enough to not check it, at least 3 or 4 times a day. It doesn’t suck up that much time in real terms, but it’s the mental distraction that’s most disruptive.
I want to do big things in 2012 so it’s time to bring out the A-game and that means focus and hard work. I hope quitting Facebook will make a difference.
You might say, well why not quit Twitter as well? And LinkedIn while you’re at it? Well, both of those are still important to me professionally. Facebook has always been a place for just people I know in real life. In the future I might maintain a Facebook page, but again it’ll be for work reasons.
So that’s it. It’s been a blast, honest is has. :)
- If you were hoping to connect with me on Facebook - it’s probably best to follow me on Twitter instead. @AdamWestbrook