Saturday, October 4, 2014

How I Changed My Facebook Habits

The Like Button
Almost a month ago I read an article about a man who quit the like button on facebook. The friend who shared it invited any interested person's to do the same. I've never followed up with her on how her experiment went, but I'll share the results of mine.

Like the man who originally sparked this idea, it was hard at first. Instead of just liking a photo of an old classmate's wedding, I had to leave a comment. In the past I quit commenting on threads like that because of all the notifications that follow. But guess what, it is so easy to stop those notifications!

I really had to decide if I liked something simply because I thought that friend needed encouragement, or if I really liked it enough to acknowledge the post with sincere words and thought. This really did have an impact on my facebook interactions. One I've deeply enjoyed.

It also has had an impact on what is shown in my newsfeed. Facebook's algorithm has started showing me a lot more people and a lot less random political memes and articles. I have a couple conservative friends who occasionally share things I really enjoy, so I always find myself "liking" those posts in an effort to say "hey, we agree!" But now I have to choose between ignoring those posts or commenting on them. By ignoring them I have seen less political junk in my feed. When I choose to comment I've been part of intriguing conversations.

The Phone App
At the same time I quit the like button, I also uninstalled the facebook app from my phone. I often think, "oh, I'd quit facebook all together if it weren't for the ease of messaging." And while I still think that is one of the top three benefits of facebook, I decided I didn't need those messages sent straight to my phone.

The downside of not having the app is that I can't share pictures from my phone as instantly anymore. But after a couple of weeks I got over that.

The best part is that I don't find myself mindlessly strolling through facebook's newsfeed while I'm out and about with my kids. If I really have a break (while waiting at the Dr's office or the beauty salon) I can decide if I have enough attention to dig through pinterest or if I'd rather just watch my goofy kids (or if they aren't there, interact with people around me). No more half looking through facebook while half acknowledging my children and the public sphere that surrounds me.

The Conclusion
I'll never put the app back on my phone. I don't miss it at all.

I have slowly started using the like button again. But never on original posts, only on comments within a thread. Sometimes I just really like something someone has to say, and I don't want to be the weirdo who, four commentors later, says, "hey @soandso, you are spot on!" I'm definitely more aware of when I hit the like button, so when I do I really mean it! And because of the positive change I saw in the algorithms, I'll never like an original post again. I'll keep making myself choose between commenting and ignoring. I'm reserving that thumbs up for truly noteworthy comments on threads I glance over or follow. 

1 comment:

Mom said...

I would try it, but.....I have never missed getting FB out of my life! I use dads to check on family members, but now I forget to get on his! Thanks for sharing that information though.

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