Changes to the Facebook platform were reported in the New York Times this morning. It seems as Facebook is changing their algorithm to prioritize friends and family in the newsfeed over viral content.
I deleted the Facebook app and messenger app from my phone about six months ago and have limited my interactions by logging in once a day during the week and ignoring it on the weekends. When I log on, I tend to any messages I have, delete any memories I don’t care about, and check my notifications. Then, I log off.
I have threatened to completely leave Facebook in the past, but haven’t brought myself to actually leave the platform. After reading today’s news, I realized that prioritizing friends and family wasn’t going to pull me back in. Limiting my Facebook usage sprung from two other issues I have with the platform.
The first is logging on and immediately being emotionally bombarded about things that don’t matter to me. A good example of this would be a devasting post about a death of a young family member of someone I haven’t spoken to in 20 years. It may be sad, but in the grand scheme of my life, it’s not important. These “emotional bombs” were getting too much of my empathetic attention. The kind of attention that should be reserved for people who are actually within my real friends and family circle.
The second is the growing psychological findings that people who are truly unhappy post more on social media than others. In addition to this, Facebook “likes” act like dopamine in the brain so people who need mental validation to increase their emotional stability often post more than other users to get that positive high.
When I read about the above, I started realizing that some people I frequently see in-person, who are not happy with their lives for one reason or another, fall into the trap of constantly posting about how wonderful their lives are on Facebook. I often wonder aloud, “You literally just told me how unhappy you are, but yet you seem to be having the time of your life as per your Facebook page.” So, I started questioning a good deal of what I was seeing in my timeline. This realization of this highly curated content made the whole platform seem inauthentic, so I stopped constantly scrolling through my newsfeed as it was all starting to look like fake news.
I have found limiting my use of the platform has greatly improved the quality of my day to day life. However, my time away from Facebook hasn’t given me back a ton of time. I still find myself on Instagram wasting an hour, or two, of my day. But, I do walk away from Instagram feeling more positive and less emotionally drained than I would if I had spent the same amount of time on Facebook.