Less Is More: Unplugging the News Feed
Two weeks ago I unfollowed every single person I’m friends with on Facebook.
Wait, what? What’s the point? How rude! How do you know what’s going on in the world? What’s wrong with you?
I love it. I can still do everything I want: work on Pages, look up anyone I want, message, handle Events – but my News Feed is still and quiet, with only occasional updates from the handful of business I’ve liked. There’s no more always-new ticker to scroll through.
It’s throwback, actually. For the first two years of Facebook, there was no News Feed at all. Then they discovered a stream of updates got people to stay longer. That’s worked brilliantly for their KPIs, but “more time on Facebook” isn’t an achievement I need.
I’ve also turned on “On This Day” notifications, so I get a daily digest of what I’d posted or been tagged in on that day in years past – and I delete or untag about 90%.
But you’re getting rid of memories! And pictures! Won’t you miss them? What’s wrong with you?
This one is harder – getting rid of existing things, rather than just not seeing new things. But the best argument I came up with against it was, But now I won’t be able to see old pictures other people have with me in them. What if I die in a car crash, how will they find nice pictures of me for the poster at my wake?
Then I realized, Life would be exactly the same way it has always been pre-Facebook. Also, you’re pretty seriously disturbed.
I still spend more time than I’d like on my phone, but these are two steps in a good direction.
Both were in reaction to how I saw my students handle Facebook. In their lives, it was a utility, not a destination. Facebook was good for looking up information or sending a private message, but not creating content. And they didn’t value permanent content very highly, anyway.
I need to be more cognizant of my time – where I’m spending it, with whom, doing what. I know what I want, but too often, I let my insecurities speak louder than my priorities. And I’ve learned that less information is often better for me (and science backs me up).
So here’s to little corners of peace, wherever you can get them. Like my quiet News Feed.