I quit Twitter Yesterday. It was the first social media platform I ever joined. Years ago, a friend, another web developer, told me about it. I joined and connected to him. We tweeted Bob Dylan lyrics back and forth.
From what I could tell, it was like texting except it was crippled—limited to 120 characters—and for communicating with strangers instead of friends. I couldn’t (yet) understand the appeal.
Quitting Twitter was a warmup. At the end of this year, I’m leaving Facebook. This will be a bit more complicated. For one thing, I made “friends” on Facebook that I really like. I don’t want to lose touch. For another, there are really useful resources I’ll be losing, including tech support for some products that use.
But it’s worth the tradeoff. I’ll be gaining so much.
I’ll regain my concentration and focus. I’ll spend less time reacting and more time acting. I won’t having an algorithm pushing my buttons, annoying me with corrosive political crap and other nonsense. I won’t spend time arguing with strangers or—worse still—friends.
I’m going further than this. I’m unsubscribing to email lists. I’m turning off all notifications except for ones I really want. I’m committed to being analog—no phone or computer—before 9am every day.
And although I’m waiting until the end of the year to leave Facebook, I’m cutting down sharply right now. I’m posting rarely and then mostly to inform people I’m leaving and letting them know how to stay in touch. (I’d like to retain my friends! Even those I disagree with—perhaps especially those.)
Our time is our life and Facebook is mostly a waste and a distraction. I want to have quality conversations with my friends, not poisoned by a sea of feeds designed to provoke me, to divert my attention, to create more impressions to be sold.
And I don’t want to participate in Facebook given its largely negative effect on our society, its harnessing and feeding of hostility for profit, its amoral destructiveness, its rapacious greed.
Yes, my decision to leave was influenced by a friend and by the movie The Social Dilemma. But I’ve been poised to leave for some time. My personal watch cry has long been “act, don’t react.” Facebook is antithetical to that life philosophy. Facebook needs to go so I can start again.
Friends, and even those I only know through Facebook: you can all stay in touch and enjoy better talks with me via my personal website. Don’t be a stranger!