A lecturer of mine during undergrad spoke passionately of the future ‘pro-privacy’ movement. I never saw him release his book but it was going to be to Social Media what ‘No-Logo’ was to alter-globalisation and I’m sure he fantasised about students rocking anti-FB t-shirts and burning flip video cameras on campus. In the end, I was 20 years old and would forget his name, remain a voracious social media user for years to come and cut my teeth in the enterprise sales game selling digital marketing solutions. Social Media essentially paid my bills and funded my ‘early-twenties’ adventures. In return I provided it with thousands of filtered, square-cropped photographs.
For more images of me brooding check out Amy Cahill
If you spoke to me for about 10 minutes you would probably include me in Buzzfeed’s ‘The 5 People Least Likely to Leave Facebook in 2016’. You would have checked off a number of criteria including
- Works in technology; Bonus Point; Specifically Digital Marketing
- Friendship networks and family interstate and overseas
- Millennial — My Mum’s middle-aged friends are more likely to religiously use Facebook than my friends but for perception’s sake I’m including this.
- ‘You post a lot’
- ‘People post a lot of photos of you’
- Member of multiple sport teams, running groups, comic-book meetups etc. Bonus Points; ‘owner’ of more than one of these Facebook Groups
So what colossal event occurred to see me unceremoniously delete (the permanent erase option’ my account?
Nothing. I had about 9 calls asking me this question from friends worried I was the subject of a public-shaming, blackmail, or a horrendous break-up, but sincerely nothing happened.
I was just over it. My Facebook feed simultaneously bored, frustrated and angered me and I wasn’t completely comfortable with the platform. So for all those intrigued why @amycahill is now Twitter & Instagram only (for now), here’s the run down.
What happened to my feed?
If I wanted to scroll through memes I’d browse reddit. It doesn’t really bother me to see Grandma share a bastardised Biden Meme, it does annoy the hell out of me to see endless variations on ‘@J owes you a taco’ or ‘@M is most likely to get lost on a road trip’.
I like seeing what people are up to. At 25, my Facebook feed was filled with people getting engaged, exploring the world and buying houses (but never both). It’s usually damn confronting but it’s awesome! So why did my feed devolve into in-jokes, tag your someone-who’s and re-shared videos with terrible borders from Lad Bible?
The value Facebook previously provided me quickly disappeared once the inspirational quotes once restricted to Pinterest began to overrun my feed.
Facebook is not a news source
I fangirl over ABC journalists. No I don’t want to get my news from Facebook.
For someone that watches ABC news24 (The Australian ABC for clarity) and consumes vast numbers of opinion pieces it’s infuriating to see you share that terribly written and frustratingly vague article. My only comfort is that whoever shared it probably didn’t read it.
I once shared an article titles ‘Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs’. The first three comments called me variations of a traitor, obviously I offended certain friends by quickly betraying my Apple-Fan Girl roots and joining the growing cool thing that is hating on Apple. The funny thing is, the sub-title was ‘but he’s the CEO they need’, the article was a defence of Tim Cook’s contributions to the company and was beautifully written with optimism for the company. I was always hesitant to share anything on my feed, suspicious that even my intelligent friends were quick to like things with titles they agreed with regardless of the content of the article they didn’t gave the time to read.
The fake news piece played a part in my decision to leave, but the apparent wilful ignorance from Facebook of the influence they play in public opinion was more offensive to me than the actual profiting off fake news. Amplified bu my purely anecdotally supported belief no-one reads what the article actually says if an acquaintance has shared it. In the end, I didn’t use Facebook as a news source and so a feed filled with poorly vetted articles was useless to me.
Do I really trust Facebook?
Okay. I read one story but it made me very uncomfortable.
“It’s better for Facebook to be a part of enabling conversation, even if it’s not yet the full conversation,” Mr. Zuckerberg said, according to employees.
What companies can purchase your recommendation as advertisement, ‘Amy C chose Stan over Netflix’ (false)? What if the current Government could similarly purchase ‘your’ endorsement? I hate slippery slope fallacies with a passion so apologies for leveraging it. It is meant only to convey my thought process in deciding whether I trust Facebook as an organisation with these decisions.
It’s probably not super-healthy
I’ve read a fair bit about social-media and the impact on mental health, and generally it’s pretty negative. The unfortunate thing is that it’s usually the first-hand experience that gets the impact across. For me, begging someone to get rid of social media when they were in a terrible headspace, their vitriol and lengths they went to in an attempt to hide/maintain/justify it put how addictive it can be in perspective. Someone I hadn’t seen in four years commenting on how awesome my life is while I was going through some challenging times reminded me of every time I had a momentary pang of jealousy I’d felt for someone else’s insta-worthy life.
Like anything, there’s positive impacts, and there can be negative. I’m in an airport and I’m biased so you can do your own research.
The ‘Holy-Shit-I-Spent-How-Much-Time-Scrolling’ Moment
Download RescueTime. Look at the amount of time you spend on your computer at work scrolling through Facebook.
It’s even more confronting if you use an app like Gyroscope to display it in a pretty graph. (Gyroscope developers, can you make it so you I don’t need Facebook to use your amazing app - thank you!).
Again, data is abstract. I wrote an article about deleting the mobile FB app and reading a book every week through an e-reader on your phone. If you don’t want to read it, Tl:Dr Deleted the FB app, read three books in two days.
But what about..?
Or text, email, instagram message
The questions I usually get can be answered with the following
1. I run into people and have refreshingly genuine conversations about what we’re up to
2. I have not missed a spontaneous event or planned event organised by my friends. Nor have I missed an important moment in someone’s life so far.
3. I talk to my friends more. A lot more.
4. I send messages to people I haven’t spoken to in a while and we talk. It’s (generally) not awkward.
5. I still get to gossip about people over drinks with friends. Now though I’m surprised and they enjoy telling me something I don’t know.
6. I usually get sent a bunch of photos after an event without even asking
7. If it’s important someone can find me.
Deactivating, sure I would probably be tempted back. Since deleting my account and holding out for the 14 days for it to be cleared, the most tempting argument I’ve heard to rejoin is to reactivate Tinder.
So no, I really have no motivation to go back.
Though I would like to let that tutor know that maybe boredom will see people migrate off social, not righteous protection of privacy.
Originally Posted December 27, 2016