I spend a lot of time on Facebook. It's partially what I do for a living. (I build pages and manage groups on Facebook for clients. And two of my own projects have vital Facebook communities.) But I spend too much energy on Facebook. I'm trying to get something from the community experience there, something I'm missing in the off-line world. Facebook is a tonic against loneliness. But it's an amazing time suck. And as we know, the experience of our connections on Facebook is dying under the weight of Facebook's advertising needs, and the newly exposed emotional manipulation experiment. We need somewhere else to go.
Yesterday I was in a furious fit of posting on Facebook, right in the middle of gathering accolades for an announcement that I couldn't even post yet, but I was happy to tease and taunt and receive the "congrats" from my friends. And then I came across this idea of 99 Days Off Facebook and it was a simple decision. Basically midstream in this process of self-promotion I did a 180. I signed up, replaced my avatar and vowed to leave the personal sharing on Facebook behind for 99 days. I'm not even 24 hours into the experiment, but I'm already stoked of what it will mean. Some of the observations I have just in the first 14 hours of "recovery from Facebook" are:
1. All of the energy I was spending making connections on Facebook can be recaptured in the form of creative time. Facebook is a sublimation of creative energy in the guise of connecting with others. Keep that energy to myself, I have to look for other, more authentic ways to connect.
2. Google+ isn't the replacement for Facebook, but it's interesting.
3. LinkedIn is actually much more productive in terms of generating tangible business results. Self-promotion on Facebook accounts for about 5% of my overall traffic to my "projects." I can do without that 5% and replace it with more fruitful activities.
4. If people want to connect with me online they will have to find another channel. Anything BUT Facebook. And that's a good thing. For 99 days, I'm not responding to a single personal message, political rant, cat pic, nothing. I'm off. And I still need to connect with others, so I'm excited to see how this desire and energy will manifest in my post-Facebook life.
5. Facebook is an advertising platform. They have killed all but 8% of our news feed. And now they've even shown that they're not above manipulating the news feed for their own gain. Hey Facebook, Fk you.
6. If I'm posting on Facebook or reading the news feed I could have been doing something else with that energy or desire for company.
7. Facebook is not an authentic connection. We need face-to-face connections to feel each other. Sure we can "keep in touch" using Facebook, with about the same intensity as our 3rd grade Valentine's love letters. There is very little life or passion on Facebook. There are platitudes and cute memes, but little else.
8. As an email and contact platform Facebook is just "one more" device that I needed to check. Now, I've deleted the Facebook app from my phone, and that right there is about 50% of my distracted phone time, that I now have to do something else with. I'm glad. If you need me, I'm right here via email, phone, or text.
I'll let you know how my experience goes. And I'll let you know here, on my blog, where the potential for us to really connect is solid and there's not ONE SINGLE ADVERTISEMENT. And I promise not to manipulate your experience, only you should be able to do that.
If you're interested in quitting Facebook too, here's the link to get you started.
See you on the flip side of 99 days.