How do you know if someone’s not on Facebook? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.
Just like for those who have gone vegan or do CrossFit, not being on Facebook is surely meme-worthy by now?
Earlier this year, I quit Facebook. You should not do the same.
Around the same time, I also quit Messenger, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. Partly as a result of reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism.
It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. I had put it off for years.
- My health: Twenty minutes on any of these platforms usually made me feel worse than before. Not awful. Certainly not better.
- My time: The value I was getting in exchange for my time was really poor. On Twitter and Instagram (my two remaining social networks) I can connect with anyone I’m interested in, clarify my thinking, improve my writing, etc.
- My freedom: They distracted me from being free. Especially WhatsApp, which requires the app on your phone (I had already deleted the apps for the others).
- My relationships: A strong argument in favour of social media is the friendships it helps build and maintain. I disagree. One-to-one conversations will always be more powerful than a like button.
- My ethics (sort of!): I didn’t agree with them ethically. This is really only aimed at Facebook, but also it’s only a tiny factor (as much as I would love to take the moral high ground here, it simply wasn’t a huge motivator).
Do you feel exactly like me? Probably not. So you shouldn’t do the same.
I enjoy mentioning I’m not on Facebook.
It’s a novelty, given their 2.7 billion monthly active users.
My departure from LinkedIn raised no questions. That’s possibly because they operate in an alternate universe.
And while abstaining from Facebook raises a response along the lines of “throw your laptop away if you hate technology so much” or a more direct “just shut up”, I’ve found the response to WhatsApp more intriguing.
People tell me they struggle with WhatsApp too. That it brings benefits, at a cost. They’re involved in discussions of no interest to them, and mute conversations to escape the noise.
We should be questioning the tech we use.
What’s bringing us down? What isn’t working?
The answer to a tech problem is possibly a tech solution. How can those that brought us this technology ensure it makes our lives better, and not worse? It’s also a personal problem, in need of personal solutions.
So don’t quit Facebook. I’m not asking you to leave WhatsApp. Get all the value possible from LinkedIn.
I’m asking that you think about where you spend your time and energy, and find a set-up that works for you.