A Year Without Facebook

One year ago, I signed out of Facebook, but I didn’t delete my account or deactivate it. I just logged off and didn’t look back. I haven’t signed back in a single time. I had told myself that maybe I’d delete my account if I could stay away from it for a year. Well, I made it. So will I delete Facebook now? Mmmmm, no, not yet.

Delete: why or why not?

Over the past year, there were two or three times when I thought I might need to log into my Facebook account for a very specific reason. But I managed to avoid it. And now that I’ve been off Facebook for so long, I feel much more confident that daily living is perfectly fine without it. I’ve proven that a Facebook account is not necessary in modern life. So deleting it would make sense.

Yet I think part of my success in staying off Facebook is because I know I can go back if I want or need to. And I have a Facebook account, so I don’t need one. Does that make sense? I don’t lack one, so I don’t need one. But if I delete my Facebook account, then I might feel like I need one even if I actually don’t. It’s some kind of psychological thing, I think. So not deleting it might be best for now.

Still social

At this time a year ago, I totally deleted my long-standing Twitter account; I’m glad I did. Facebook then became the last social media I had.

Now I’m active on Micro.blog, which has a social timeline, but it’s not built like traditional social media. It’s more of a blogging platform. Yet Micro.blog provides enough social connection online to scratch that itch. And thanks to the Fediverse, being on Micro.blog also gives me interaction with people on Mastodon.

I was active on niche social cataloging sites since they’re more about their utility and focus on a single topic: Goodreads for book reading and Grouvee for video gaming. I’m not so active on those anymore. I prefer to focus on just my blog and Micro.blog. It’s simpler. And I think it’s enough.1,2

Future deletion

I may eventually delete my Facebook account just on principle if for no other reason. Yet I hesitate because I’ve deleted my previous Facebook accounts several times and always end up creating a new one. The main reasons I’ve done that were “peer pressure” and “FOMO.” But in the past year, I’ve felt neither of those. That’s telling. To me, it’s evidence that Facebook just isn’t what it used to be; it’s on the decline. That said, there’s still some utility to Facebook. But I think it’s slowly waning.

Well, I’m leaving Facebook alone, ignoring my account. I’ll keep going as I have been. Maybe in another year, I’ll revisit the idea of deleting it. Or maybe I’ll wake up one random Saturday this summer and just nuke the thing.

What do you think?

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  1. TikTok? Nope. I’ve never touched it. And I don’t consider it traditional social media. It’s more about entertainment, like YouTube. ↩︎

  2. Instagram? I deleted that years ago. Its decline was evident to me for a long time. ↩︎

How I Became A Micro.blogger

Something happened on the internet again. A guy who likes to tweak his blog theme totally switched platforms, moving from one host to another in haste and inadvertently breaking some links. And it’s basically Elon Musk's fault. WordPress gets some blame too. Let me explain.

A Micro.blogger is born

Elon Musk bought Twitter and started wrecking it. So many people fled to Mastodon; conversation started happening there. The zeitgeist was Mastodon to the social-media rescue. It has promise since it’s – based on IndieWeb principles – decentralized. All this compelled the geek in me to try social media again.

In turn, I was reminded of Micro.blog because it, too, is IndieWeb friendly and social. Which would be better, Mastodon or Micro.blog? I was thinking of each one as social platforms. Mastodon is more Twitter-like – both a good and bad thing. But then, looking more into Micro.blog, I was slapped sober; it’s more…blog-like!

While I wanted to try Indie Social Media, I kind of needed a better blog host than old-fashioned Blogger. Due to the WordPress disruption last year, I had moved from WordPress to Blogger, which was nostalgic if nothing else. And though I’m fond of it – despite Google – Blogger is like the walking dead.

Realizing Micro.blog is both decentralized social media and a blog platform, my brain was electrified into action. I saw Micro.blog in a new light; as host, it could be my new blogging home! It’s modern, has a credible reputation, and is built on a firm IndieWeb foundation. The cherry on top is that my blog could automatically cross-post to the Micro.blog social timeline. Why hadn’t I joined before?

Faster than a growing 16-year old can inhale a pizza, I was whisked off my feet from Blogger; a Micro.blogger was born. I moved my domain name before I imported any previous posts. Permalinks? Yes…until I broke them. It’s a small price to pay; no worries. I also readily paid for a monthly subscription – sign me up, take my money! – and then, so impressed by the service, I bought a whole year of hosting at once. I’m all in.

A microblogger is born

This change in blog hosts caused another change; the way I blog. Not only was a Micro.blogger born, a microblogger was born.

You see, my custom for years was to only publish long-form posts – articles with a title like the one you’re now reading. And when I had a Twitter account, I Tweeted short stuff like links, quotes, or microposts. But now that I can totally do that on Micro.blog in addition to traditional blogging, I find myself liberated in sharing with the world, free to publish both short and long posts, no longer bound by a quantity of words; quality matters most.

With this newfound freedom, I’m now embracing the idea and practice of mixing microposts with, uh, “macro” posts on my blog; it’s like a whole other level of blogging for me. Let’s say you took the best of Tweets and the best of Medium articles and combined them in a single feed; that’s a Micro.blog blog.

It’s great because sometimes I only have a few words to say about something and can now freely share that; I don’t have to wax verbose just to create a long article. Simple status updates are welcome here. Yet I’m also not limited to only 280 character text snippets; when the muse impels, my words can flow like Niagara Falls.

I think the mix works well. If nothing else, it certainly accomplishes what Micro.blog founder, Manton Reece, aimed for: people blogging more often. I’m now posting at least once a day, whereas I used to post about three times a week.

So this blogger upgraded. Now I’m also a microblogger.

And thanks to what’s dubbed the “Fediverse” (think Blogosphere), I don’t have to choose between Micro.blog or Mastodon. Basically, one can feed into the other, so with my Micro.blog account, I also have a Mastodon profile - no instance required. Bonus! But all this…is for another post.

Note: This post exceeds 280 characters by several thousand. No problem.

What do you think?

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Micro.blog Is Interesting

I’ve been checking out Mastodon lately — decentralized social media — which led me to rediscovering a related site/platform called Micro.blog. I had briefly tried it out a few years ago but didn’t need it alongside my WordPress blog (and Twitter profile). But now, things are different.

Mastodon is a social media service/software/platform, like Twitter. You only post short texts, a.k.a microblog posts, like a comment or a status update. The aim is to chit-chat with others in a sort of open conversation about whatever. It’s like equal parts of sharing a thought on your mind and checking the thoughts of others. You can just as easily comment on someone’s post as you can simply comment in your own new post.

Micro.blog is a blogging service/platform. It hosts stand-alone blogs that can have either short or long posts. It’s like traditional blogging — something I happen to enjoy. But it adds a timeline/feed for all micro.blog posts, whether short or long. It favors short posts; not sure what that says about quality versus quantity though:

“…Micro.blog is focused on short posts because we think it encourages people to write more often…” Micro.blog help center

Those are the big picture overviews of each service, as far as I understand them. I’m still trying to wrap my head around each one, learning how they overlap or interact. Mastodon and Micro.blog are indieweb compliant. So they feature strong benefits of avoiding centralized for-profit social media or blogging services. Yet it’s hard for me to decide which I might like to use, if any.

On one hand, I left social media. But it was the big publicly-traded commercial juggernauts of Twitter and Facebook. You know, the kind that prioritizes profits over people by maximizing user-engagement, typically via algorithm-pushed negativity. And on the other hand, I’m still a social creature like my fellow humans and have some attraction to “joining the conversation” on the interwebs with its netizens.

“Micro.blog is a blogging platform with a social engagement component. We have a timeline where you can follow and interact with other bloggers. Sometimes it feels like Twitter, because of the timeline, mentions, and conversations.” Micro.blog help center

The weird thing is how Micro.blog seems to combine blogging with social media. In my mind, it’s similar to the WordPress Reader, which is a feed — a reverse chrono timeline — of blogs you choose to follow (with a few suggestions). It lets you like and comment too. But since all WordPress blog posts are big/long, the Reader is more like looking at an RSS reader for news articles. In contrast, looking at the Micro.blog timeline shows you lots of short posts or status updates, like Twitter, where you can also interact with commenting and such.

Though hesitant, I’m thinking about using both Micro.blog and Mastodon. The possibilities are intriguing, but I know part of the reason is they’re different from my current blogging setup; they’re shiny new tech things to try out. For now, I’m trying out Micro.blog. One step at a time.

What’s your take?

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Mastodon Is Interesting

As Twitter implodes, there remains the elephant in the room: social media persists. The elephant’s cousin — Mastodon — proves it. Well, sort of. As social creatures, people are going to connect online, one way or the other. At first, I heard about various Twitter alternatives, but Mastodon seems to keep rising to the top. Though I doubt I’ll join, I’m interested in that it’s “federated,” kind of like email.

I can’t get into the technical stuff because it’s mostly over my head. I’ve read a few articles about it, but Glenn Fleishman’s recent piece strikes the loudest chord. It relates how Mastodon works similar to email. Due to this and the fact it also looks and feels much like Twitter helps spark my interest.

I am, after all, a social creature who favors text over photos or videos when “connecting” with my fellow humans. And I miss the old days of original Twitter with its simple restriction of 140 characters per Tweet. And of course, like Twitter of yore, Mastodon is labeled a “microblogging” platform. Anything like blogging gets my attention.

Another feature of Mastodon that is most intriguing to me: a plain ol’ feed that’s in reverse chronological order and shows only people you follow — no ads, no sponsored posts, no algorithm amplification. That sounds so quaint or elementary, yet it also sounds so refreshing in its straightforward simplicity.

So I’m learning more and will keep an eye on the pachyderm in the room. Maybe it will grow more popular or powerful and fulfill a promise like that of the early internet or the modern Indieweb, such that people can directly interact quickly and easily online without the problems of web 2.0 social media. Maybe we’ll see a shift away from centralized and commercialized platforms like Facebook.

While I don’t like social media as run by billionaires — Musk and Zuckerberg — Mastodon might be different enough to be worth joining. Like email, maybe Mastodon has enough old-school wisdom to last well into the future.

Final note: I’ve been off Facebook, Twitter, etc, since April ’22. I currently only use social-cataloging site, Grouvee, for gaming stuff (it’s like Goodreads but for games), along with its forum.

Have you considered Mastodon?

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Is Meta Pivoting Back To Social Media?

Recode published a piece that does not help reduce skepticism towards Meta’s ambitious AR/VR/metaverse endeavors. The year 2022 was tough on the company. Will Facebook/Meta be the next MySpace or Yahoo? Its founder and CEO is optimistic:

“Zuckerberg says he has a plan to reverse the slump. He’ll keep building the metaverse, but he’ll focus most of his time on improving Meta’s core social media business (Facebook and Instagram) and finding new ways to expand the company’s popular but less profitable messaging apps.” — Shirin Ghaffary

My reaction to the above quote was literally, “Wait…what??”

It sounds like Meta — the company that pivoted hard from Facebook to the metaverse — is now pivoting back to social media, since Zuckerberg’s “focus” and “most of his time” will be on improving the core business (i.e. Facebook).

Okay, so social media remains Meta’s core business, despite having renamed itself to Meta, and the metaverse remains a side hustle. That makes sense; social media is what makes Meta money, whereas the metaverse has thus far caused Meta to lose billions.

Still, the renewed focus on or return to prioritizing the social media part of Meta is surprising because the company’s late 2021 pivot — new name and new brand — to the metaverse was so prominent and promising.

What’s more, Meta isn’t only intending to ensure the fires of its social media apps keep burning brightly, it’s also planning to nurture growth in its messaging apps too. And all that’s on top of continuing to build the metaverse.

So, build the metaverse, expand its messaging platforms, and also — above all — improve its social media (which seems to mean beating TikTok at its own game). Meta, after laying off thousands in recent months, plans to do all three of these at the same time.

Yeah, I’m skeptical.

Do you think Meta can pull all this off? Should it focus on just one thing?

Social Media Twilight Years

Do you want a good long-ish read? This great piece from The Atlantic was right up my alley. The end of social media? Imagine that. Sure, this has been said before, and I think that’s because the life of social media has been dwindling for years. We’ve seen more signs of it in recent months with Facebook earnings dropping and the company pivoting away from the social app towards the metaverse. And lately, we’ve witnessed Twitter being run into the ground in quick fashion.

If social media has aged into its twilight years, it looks now to be in hospice. It’s condition is terminal; there’s little time left.

“It’s over. Facebook is in decline, Twitter in chaos. Mark Zuckerberg’s empire has lost hundreds of billions of dollars in value and laid off 11,000 people, with its ad business in peril and its metaverse fantasy in irons. Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has caused advertisers to pull spending and power users to shun the platform (or at least to tweet a lot about doing so). It’s never felt more plausible that the age of social media might end—and soon.”Ian Bogost

It’s one thing to predict the demise of social networking as we know it. It’s another thing, though, to step back and realize we may very well be witnessing social media in the throes of death. It’s not going down without a fight, but it’s definitely down. Even regular users of Facebook wouldn’t argue that the service isn’t what it once was.

As long as we still have the good ol’ internet, we still have social networking despite lacking social media proper. Along this line, it’s interesting to see how many people have left Twitter lately and joined Mastodon and refer to it as old-school networking due to its federated or decentralized setup.

We don’t need Twitter or Facebook. Social Media was cool at first, but it devolved. After causing upheaval, it is being upheaved. Despite some benefits, I still think social media, overall, isn’t worth it.

A telling anecdote: in times past, when I’ve quit Facebook, I always eventually felt pressure or draw to return with a new account; friends and family can be hard to resist. But since I logged off Facebook almost eight months ago, I have not logged back in a single time. I’ve only felt a possible reason to maybe log in once, just recently and very briefly.

I did not log in. Instead, I met an acquaintance face to face. How’s that for social?

Do you think we are truly seeing the age of social media ending?

YouTube Handles More Social

A few weeks ago, I noticed that YouTube would be adding Handles to existing accounts and wondered how that might change the platform, for better or worse, into a more social media-like experience. Well, looks like we’re about to find out; I’ve already got my @username!


YouTube says that handles will be “shown in more places over time” as the feature gets more traction and as YouTube expands the ways in which it can be used. Two of the most prominent areas you’ll see handles in are video descriptions, where they can be used to mention collaborators, and in video comments, where you can give a shout-out to another user on the platform.” — David Nield

So I eagerly dashed over to my laptop while in the middle of making coffee so I could maybe snag a good @username. My personal favorite: @jason is already taken. No surprise there. But to my real surprise, I already had a good name assigned to me: @JasonMcFadden. I wasn’t sure about the camelcase — I have the option to go all lowercase — but I stuck with it. Not half bad.

For details around the use of an @username, check out this Google support link.

The big question remains: will YouTube become social? In the wake of what looks to be the implosion of Twitter, could YouTube find a place within the journalism and tech spheres to share breaking news and snark in lieu of blue bird tweets?

I discovered on the site there’s a place for posting text and images like what’s found on Facebook. Interesting. But is it good to use? I don’t know. I still only use YouTube to watch videos, not share stuff. The only Google property I use to share stuff is…Blogger! But on YouTube, maybe mentioned people will become common and useful now.

I’m cautiously optimistic. I would “+1” the addition of YouTube handles, but we all know how Google+ turned out. (Bummer; I liked Google+ more than Twitter.)

What do you think, will YouTube become more social since you can @mention viewers and Tubers?

Social Internet Versus Social Media

One of my favorite bloggers is computer scientist Cal Newport. I found this great quote on a podcast (at 50:42) from 2019 wherein he discussed his then recent book, Digital Minimalism. The context here is Cal’s apt distinction between the social-internet and social-media:

“When you go back out to the wild social internet, it’s such a better experience. And so this is why I’ve been a blogger for a long time. I think the blogosphere, though weirder and harder to navigate is, for example, a much better repository of expression and information than, say, Facebook or Twitter is.”

This resonated with me of course; I’m a blogger on Blogger and still enjoy the blogosphere (e.g. WordPress Reader). I don’t use social media anymore and don’t miss it. And I’ve written about this before, saying The Web Itself Is The Social Network.

Though engaging, algorithmically curated silos — like the Facebook Newsfeed — are inferior to the wide open web where individual blogs once flourished. Outside of social media, many people enjoy the web’s data as the internet-backbone serves up info via mobile apps. And beyond that, most people click links no further than one Google search result deep. But it’s a privilege to surf the social internet from site to site and page to page, bookmarking, copying URLs, or commenting on someone’s specialized blog.

As Newport points out, it’s a bit harder for some people to navigate the web to its fullest, discovering new sites and blogs via ubiquitous hyperlinks. But I’d say sowing the extra effort is well worth the abundant harvest of uniquely expressive blogs, deeply informative websites, and utilitarian web apps. Staying within the confines of a limited feed strips the web, and the web surfer, of a rich internet experience.

Would you rather give up the open web or social media?

Elon Bought A Pet Blue Bird

Maybe you noticed Twitter now belongs to Elon Musk. Some are worried, some cautiously optimistic, some are leaving the social site. Others will wait and see. I think it will be interesting to watch.

When Elon first moved to buy Twitter earlier this year, I deleted my ten-year-old account. Part of my decision was related to the uncertain or dark future of the platform under the edicts of Elon. Mostly, though, I realized that checking Tweets had become too distracting, nigh addicting, to me personally.

Overall, I think Twitter will, like Facebook, slowly dwindle and become less relevant. Regardless of who owns Twitter or what Zuckerberg does to pivot Facebook, it really seems that the tide has shifted on Web 2.0 social media; that era is winding down. Tik-Tok may have some social aspects to it but isn’t quite the same, and its popularity (also temporary) indicates a shift from what social networking was in its hey-day.

What’s your take?

Algorithm Antipathy

There’s a good Art of Manliness piece about escaping algorithms and using the social-internet — RSS feed aggregators and email newsletters — instead of relying on social-media to read articles and surf websites. I’ve written likewise — Zero Feeds Experiment and Finding Feedly Again — so the AoM bit resonates.

For example:

“Now that I just consume my content via RSS or email, I’ve found myself spending less time online. I check my RSS feeds in the morning and in the evening. That’s it. Since there’s no social commentary on RSS feeds, there’s no reason to keep checking back to see what other people had to say. You just read the article and you’re done. There’s some finitude to it.”

Since quitting social media, I’m less online too…to an extent. If you remove something — like Twitter — then you’d better intentionally replace it with a better thing. Else, another bad habit gets vacuumed into the empty space left behind. So I admit that overall, my online time is about the same thanks to…YouTube. It’s the one algorithm that captures my attention.

That said, I spend far less time “checking things” habitually, either on my smartphone or my laptop. I had removed the email and browser apps from my phone for over a month — a game changer for me.

The few times I check things, it’s in algorithm-free Feedly. Cautiously reluctant to reintroduce it to my web-flow, I now use it very intentionally and sparingly. I no longer compulsively check for new and novel headlines and I don’t mindlessly surf sites, crashing on waves of terribly pushed ads.

While such aggregators have distinct advantages over algorithmic feeds, they’re not perfect. Yes, there’s finitude, which is apparent by the displayed number of unread articles. But that number can grow very high, especially if you follow prolific publishing sites.

To combat this, I selectively eliminated several website feeds that exceeded a certain threshold — like 100 articles per week — or were otherwise redundant. This cut the overall article count significantly. Having glutted on RSS feeds before, I recognize when my brain needs to back off. So I’ve settled on a comfortable amount of news content to consume.

The benefits of direct control over my content consumption are indeed worth the “old-school” efforts required. It’s all about being intentional. The Art of Manliness post has much more good to say about this topic, so be sure to check it out when you have time. And for more overall, Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism weighs in here too.

Do you enjoy RSS or newsletters over social media?

Concerning YouTube User Handles

Here’s some new brain-tickling info. Google will soon make user handles on YouTube a thing. I don’t know if or how this will affect my video surfing habits, but we’ll see. From the Verge:

“All YouTube users will soon get a new way of identifying themselves. The company announced today that @name handles will be used across the platform, a convention that’s common elsewhere on the internet but a departure for YouTube.”

I use YouTube almost daily. I watch videos there for entertainment, but mostly I enjoy informative ones, like those about wood construction techniques or how to use the Mac better. And if you’re into Tiny Living, well, YouTube has you covered.

The site is my go-to place for content consumption. So for me, YouTube has always been a passive interaction. I don’t post my own content there. My engagement consists of “smashing that Like button” and “hitting that bell” and subscribing to channels.

The most original stuff I post there are short comments on videos. I do it for the sake of the video creator, to give meaningful feedback, and it’s weird to me when other YouTube users reply to my comment in some way.

With my limited use, I don’t see how having my own @username handle will make a meaningful difference in my participation on the platform. That said, the idea of adding such a feature strikes me as a potential game changer, yet not in a good way. I associate this kind of thing with…social media

YouTube is not social media.

At least it hasn’t been to me, but what if it becomes more like it? What if your identity and profile get promoted more readily with a handle like on Twitter?

How all this plays out is something I’ll be keeping an eye on for sure. I’ve never cared about my identity on YouTube before, but now it might become important, for better or worse. At the least, I hope I get to pick my @name to have the one I want, though that’s unlikely, and I don’t know what I’d pick other than my former Twitter handle.

Well, actually, I know I won’t get what I want, the ever simple @jason.

Do you think username handles on YouTube will be significant?

Is Twitter Too Toxic To Tolerate?

In this Vox piece from Peter Kafka, a few things are clear: Twitter is likely in decline, broken, and not really important. As he points out, if the social networking site vanished today, the repercussions would be ho-hum, no big deal:

“Here’s a thought experiment: What happens if Twitter goes offline tomorrow, for good? A bunch of us get some valuable time back, for starters. More seriously, some people lose an easy way to tell the world what they think, and a larger number lose a real-time window to the world. But realistically, most people aren’t spending time on Twitter to begin with. Most certainly not the youngest generation of internet users, who weren’t that interested in Twitter a few years ago and are even less so today.” - Kafka

As the author says, relatively few people use Twitter these days. It’s like a vocal minority. And loudness doesn’t make noise worth listening to. In the cacophony of Tweets, one generally must sift and sort out any signal to be found in the noise.

Since I deleted my Twitter account back in April this year, I’ve not really missed it at all. In fact, what little FOMO I had was fleeting, and I’m glad to be free of the distraction and addiction Twitter became for me.

While Elon Musk’s threat or promise (depending on your take) to buy Twitter had little to do with my decision to deep six the once-heralded micro-blogging service, it seems more apparent now that he probably won’t make it much worse or better than it is.

Like Zuckerberg with Instagram or Facebook, if Musk owns Twitter, the smart move might be a hard pivot, morphing to a new internet thing to contend with. Color me not optimistic. I think Twitter may diminish to something like what Flickr or Tumblr became: shadows of their former glory.

Do you enjoy, despise, or tolerate Twitter?

Facebook Finally Fixes The Feed

Just yesterday, I published my disconnected Facebook status. Then I found a new article stating that Facebook, after many years, is finally allowing a fully chronological feed for just the people you actually follow, like your in-real-life friends! Though I plan to stay off the social media site, this development is good and, dare I say, promising. Well, no, I won’t go that far.

Just one month ago, I published how Facebook’s main (and then only) feed was getting much worse because it broke away from its roots. Instead of showing you content from those whom you follow, it was starting to show and prioritize stuff from outside sources (discovery), meaning not your friends. How is that social? Well, it seems Facebook decided they’d better allow for both.

From The Verge, it’s said that Facebook will have two tabs in the mobile app (so this new feature may not appear on the desktop web browser) featuring different types of “newsfeeds.”

The default is the “Home” tab for the algorithm-based feed, which surfaces content from anywhere, marketed as a place or way to discover new stuff “it” (the A.I.) thinks you like/might like/should like and/or what Facebook wants you to like and/or stay engaged with or hooked on as much as possible. Also: ads.

The new (but not novel) “Feeds” tab is for what people actually have wanted all along, to see everything from everyone they friend or follow. It’s organized into types for Friends, Pages, Groups, etc. So if you want to only see what your friends post, you can and will, in reverse chrono order, as if it were a sensible blog or something. Also: still ads.


So The Verge points out that this is Facebook’s attempt at keeping people engaged while defending against Tik-Tok’s popularity. To me it sounds like Facebook is so afraid that Tik-Tok is eating its lunch that it is finally resorting to such “drastic” measures as simply making a chronological feed of just people you follow. You know, giving “users” what they actually want in order to keep them happy and on the site. What a winning strategy.

Yet this sounds more like the way YouTube is set up. There, the “home” feed is mostly full of videos the algorithm thinks you’ll like based on your watch history and such. It also sometimes shows new suggestions or other new or different stuff for discovery. In addition, there’s a “tab” or link for all the channels you subscribe (follow) to where you can see all the latest (chronological) videos from them.

I think this approach by Facebook is smart and long overdue. No matter what site you’re on, it seems best to have a discovery section for new yet similar or related (relevant) content the service thinks you want in order to keep “users” engaged and delighted. And it’s also great to have a section for the content you know you want based on who or what you choose to follow, whether it’s a person, a group, a channel, or a topic.

That’s my hot take. Facebook’s new “Feeds” is a surprising development, one I hope sticks around long-term. If I ever, for some reason, resume some Facebook interaction, I’ll look forward to this. But this alone isn’t going to get me back on the site.

What do you think of the new Facebook “Feeds” feature? Will it increase your use of the app on your phone?

Zero Facebook For 3 Months

This week I realized that it’s been 3 months since I signed out of Facebook. The thing is, I haven’t thought much about it until now. So here’s some fresh thoughts about life without social media of late.

There hasn’t been a need to be on Facebook, and I don’t think or feel I’ve missed out. Yet my account remains intact…just in case I guess. I think I would feel more alienated from Facebook if I had deleted my account. Since I have one (though I don’t use it), I don’t feel like I need one, if that makes sense.

The only FOMO I’ve had has been for Twitter. While I wasn’t active on Facebook, I was quite addicted to Twitter. Since logging off in April, I’ve encountered Twitter news and tweets on other sites, mostly as quotes or examples for news articles. On one hand, it made me feel like I was missing out on the tweets, but at the same time I wasn’t because the newsworthy ones that might matter were still being surfaced.

Though somewhat attractive, Twitter is still a site to be avoided, at least for me. My life certainly hasn’t degraded from lack of Twitter; I’m better off really. There isn’t utility I need from Twitter, and there’s little time to be checking tweets, that’s for sure.

So no change is necessary. I plan to keep cruising along free of social media, keeping life simple in that regard. That should let me make time for better pursuits like, oh I don’t know, how about blogging? Or maybe video gaming hundreds of backlogged hours of exquisite RPGs? And I might also enjoy reading more books and watching new movies! Imagine that.

Oh, I guess I should mention that I have started getting sucked back into…YouTube. But that may be for another blog post. Well, that said, while some consider YouTube a form of social media, I don’t use it that way at all. It’s pure entertainment or information for me.

And doesn’t it seem that social media, for those who still use it, is now more tailored towards entertainment? More people seem to flock to Tik-Tok or similar video-based entertainment now rather than to sites made for online socializing. These days, I think more people gravitate to niche or focused group/chat apps (Slack, Discord, Signal…) or just plain instant messaging for their telecommunication needs.

Well, times change. Facebook has certainly dwindled or degraded through the years, so I think the point has finally arrived where disconnecting from social media is easier than ever before. Social media simply isn’t as big a deal as it once was. Let me see if another 3 months glide by without it.

Are you avoiding Facebook or other social media? How’s that going for you?

Facebook Feed Gets An F

I’m not much on Facebook these days. Logged out in April and haven’t looked back. Might delete it at some point… Now, news of the Facebook feed to become more like TikTok tells me there will be less reason, less interest, for me to Numb-Scroll. If dopamine hits and user engagement are the priority, then it makes sense for Facebook to become like TikTok. But I thought Facebook’s point was to simply connect with people I know.

Sure, people can connect with friends and acquaintances over trendy content from influencers and creators, but that wasn’t the reason people signed up in the first place. People just wanted to see what their personal friends or family were doing, you know, sharing the big and small details of their daily lives with others, from random thoughts to grand events. Times change I guess.

Facebook, the “blue app,” is on the decline, so maybe such a pivot is inevitable. Besides, this isn’t the first time the News Feed was altered. At one point, it leaned towards private stuff from people you friended, then it favored info from publicsources you followed, then it flip-flopped back. Now the Feed going to allow content from neither those you friend nor those you follow. Instead, you’ll get “random” or outside content because the algorithm thinks you’ll like it best, regardless of source.

Do not want.

If I want cool content from wherever, then I would just use TikTok, right? Or maybe YouTube or Instagram. I’d sooner return to Twitter, actually (good thing I deleted it). If people want TikTok-like content, wouldn’t they just use TikTok? I guess Facebook (Meta) believes its network effect will keep its billions of users from leaving, and amplifying viral-like content will make them more engaged. I still think people should disengage from social media altogether though.

Facebook is still a Zuckerberg production, as is Meta and the so-called coming AR/VR Metaverse. On that, there’s also news about Meta’s pervasive pixel tracking web technology. So Zuckerberg’s products are as invasive and perilous to privacy as ever.

Count me out.

So, overall, I really think Facebook’s pivot to mimic TikTok is bad news for the platform and its users. Such a change seems too fundamental a shift away from what made Facebook what it was to begin with. And people don’t need to be more addicted to a feed of viral content anymore than they need to be in the habit of devouring candy all the time. It’s bad for one’s health.

If you want a true “news feed,” then follow the news sites you like via RSS in a feed reader (Feedly.com). Or just bookmark all your favorite news sites and actually visit them (off Facebook). And if you want to keep up with friends and family, then text or email them, or form a chat group on a dedicated messaging app (that isn’t owned by Mark Zuckerberg). Simple. We don’t need Facebook, no matter what it was or what it becomes. And is it really worth wanting anymore? Nah.

Do you think Facebook’s feed acting like TikTok, showing content from sources not followed, is a good or bad idea? Or is there a more nuanced view?

Social Media Or Social Networking

Have you seen the terms social media and social networking used interchangeably? I have; I’ve done it. But I was wondering if they’re the same or just similar. Is there a distinction without a difference? After looking it up and reading a few sites, the answer is…unclear to me.

What others say

I checked out a few articles about this:

I tired to glean key points, yet things are still fuzzy. Here are some thoughts.

What I think

When I think of social media, I think of Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t think of blogs. That said, if I’m not mistaken, the media part of social media includes things like:

  • Blogs
  • Newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • Videos

What these have in common is one-way communication. They’re like broadcast mediums (or media).

So while social media is one-way (and less time consuming), social networking is two-way (and more time-consuming). The former broadcasts your message out to a general audience, but the latter focuses on a narrow target audience.

I think that makes sense, though it doesn’t feel as distinctive as I’d like. Is social media a sub-category or activity of social networking?


When it comes to blogging, which grew popular before social networks/social media arose to dominate culture, I can see it being used as a broadcast medium and also as a networking channel.

If blogging is a form of social media, it’s my favorite, the only one I want to use.

On WordPress, published blogs can be followed in the Reader, a reverse chronological feed of posts from blogs you choose to follow. And they’re interactive, allowing “likes” and comments. It also allows reblogging and sharing. Such interaction is a key aspect of social networking.

Reblogging and sharing are simple ways for readers to further broadcast a blogger’s post, which is one-way communication – social media.

Likes and comments, though, let readers talk back to the blogger for two-way communication – social networking.

Speaking of communicating

On my blog, I recently removed the ability for readers to comment. Instead, I added a “Reply by Email” link at the bottom of posts. My aim wasn’t to cut off two-way communication with others but was to encourage greater discussion.

But in light of a new grasp of social networking, I’ve decided to promote greater discussion in both ways on my blog!

My posts will feature a “Reply by Email” link for readers who want to go deep. We can exchange emails back and forth over time, writing in long-form, to foster more discussion. It’s private discourse.

And I will enable commenting for readers who simply want to do just that, leave a comment. Not everything results in engrossing discussion. Sometimes a short casual conversation is best. It’s public discourse.

…Social Media or Social Networking? It’s nuanced.

What do you say?

I’m listening. I want to hear what you think. Let’s have a simple conversation in the comments area. Or let’s have a deep discussion via email. Pick what works best for you.

So…what do you think about social media or social networking? Are they the same? What differences, if any, do you see?

I Deleted Twitter

I’ve left the sky where the Tweets fly. Good-bye, Twitter. On April 26, 2022, I deleted my ten-year old Twitter account. Previously, when I had deleted Instagram or Facebook, I always held onto Twitter. But now I’ve let it go for good.

Among social media sites, I had kept my second Twitter account since 2012. I had one before that, started circa 2009, but I trashed it at some point when I nuked all social media from orbit.

Why I kept my long-running Twitter account over the years, despite deleting other social media, was for various reasons.

  1. I liked the simplicity of Twitter. It has far fewer features than Facebook.
  2. It’s almost entirely about text, which is nice for a writer/blogger.
  3. I was always a casual user and had no trouble with Twitter trolls or bots for years.
  4. I did not get addicted to it…until recently.

Since the ills of Twitter are pretty much common knowledge, I don’t need to detail them here. I’ll just throw out some typical terms associated with the platform: vitriol, dumpster fire, doom-scrolling, and virtue-signaling. The more I used Twitter in recent months, the more I experienced these negatives.

There are, of course, other issues with the service. I talked about some of my personal problems with Twitter, like addiction, in recent posts here and here.

So I logged off Twitter and waited a week or so. Absent the clamor or random tweets, my brain began to feel calm. Then Elon Musk bought (or is buying) Twitter, which…who knows!? So I decided it was time to delete it altogether and put it behind me. I don’t want to get drawn back into the so-called Twitter “hellscape.”

I think our minds and attention are made worse by social media, due to both its content (misinformation, disinformation, distraction, outrage, polarization, tribalism…) and its form (short, viral, out-of-context, inflammatory, emotional, sensational, hyperbolic headlines…). I also think the mass scale of aggregated users in social media environments amplifies human misbehavior and hurts civility and democracy.

I agree with the notion that social media can have some benefits and positives. But I think the negatives outweigh those, and I think know that people can connect, communicate, and have conversation without social media. In fact, we can have these things better without ad-revenue-based algorithms that manipulate us, both individually and collectively.

So like I said, good-bye, Twitter. (Also, I deleted my newly created Jason Journals Twitter account too.)

Are you on or off Twitter?

Social Media Disconnecting

Twitter? Signed out. Facebook? Logged off. It started a few days ago after noticing my frequent phone checking, which spurred a reality check. How did I get so hooked? It felt like brain drain. So Wednesday night, feeling staggered, I turned the key that arms the big red nuke button. I signed out of all my social media accounts and removed all links to them. I’m off.

Social Media and me

Maybe it’s just my periodic swing to find the balance between too much Twitter or quitting cold turkey. But I’ve once again been feeling the need, the compulsion, to distance myself from social media altogether. Honestly, the main problem hasn’t been Facebook this time, it has been the blue tweety bird. My use of Twitter escalated in recent months. Like slowly boiling a frog, I didn’t feel the heat of the dumpster fire that is Twitter…until recently.

I noticed how I felt the need to check Twitter, catch up on notifications, see who said what, and look at stats. What I hadn’t noticed at first was how often I did this throughout the day; a habit formed At one point, my wife was talking to me when I realized I began actively tuning her out as I grabbed my phone and started reading Twitter. Yikes!

Generally, despite having a few tailored lists on Twitter, I’d gravitate to the main stream and just scroll, sifting through noise, reading snarky comments…Twitter is said to be the comments section of the internet, and the trolls and bots know it.

Just days after creating a second Twitter account for Jason Journals, I had to delete the app from my phone. The very next day — no joke — is when Elon Musk announced he was going to buy Twitter in a hostile takeover. My first thought was, “Whoa!” My second thought was, “I bet Twitter is blowing up right now…I should go check it out…oh wait, the app isn’t on my phone.” Yeah, talk about a bit of addiction maybe? 

I think stepping back from social media right now is best for me; my hiatus is indefinite. And I likely won’t delete my accounts because I often return to them after a good long healthy break (a.k.a. digital detox or declutter).

Social Media and others

Is social media bad for everyone, society, civility, or democracy? Well, to some degree yes, as smarter people than myself have argued cogently (see Cal Newport, Jaron Lanier, and Tristan Harris). There is some utility in it, some good, but I think its net result is bad. That said, I understand many people can handle social media and make it work for them in different ways. And I’m not better than others for avoiding social media (I’m not using #DeleteFacebook for virtue signaling). Yet I think social media should be probably be deleted from the internet altogether and that we’d all be better off with blogs (maybe I’m biased).

I support social networking but not Social Media. [The Web Itself Is The Social Network.]

Having just finished re-reading Glenn Reynold’s short book called, “The Social Media Upheaval,” I recommend you read it and discern for yourself. Also, Cal Newport is a great example of someone successfully living social media free. He has a podcast, blog, and has written several books related to this topic. You can also hear him speak on the subject in YouTube videos.
For now, I think my measures of 
social media abstinence are enough to let my brain and psyche calm down. Well, that combined with turning off even more notifications on my phone, tablet, and laptop; I further tightened the screws on that too. So far, it’s remarkable because I can already sense a bit more calm and quiet in my day since my phone is not frequently alerting me to info that, 99% of the time, is neither urgent nor important. 

Also, in the absence of checking my phone, I started to rediscover the joy of long-form reading…but that’s for another post.

Have you considered your use of social media?

Facebook Is Dwindling

Over the years, I’ve blogged a lot about Facebook and my back-and-forth use of it. I’ve quit and rejoined several times, and I’ve written against the social media network, especially amidst its many controversies. Now it looks like the decline of Facebook is official, but its demise has been and will likely remain distant.

On the surface, one convenient place online for everyone to hang-out, share photos, and chat sounds great. In fact, it sometimes is. Such a benefit, though, is not without substantial cost. While it has been common knowledge that using Facebook doesn’t cost people money, that’s been conflated with the social network being free. But it’s not, of course, since it costs people their time, data, and privacy among other things.

From beneath the surface, scandals, problems, and controversies have bubbled up over the years, most of them relating to data privacy, but there are other issues too. As recently as last October, Facebook faced public scrutiny over concrete evidence of making profit at just about any and all costs to the user. Yes, Facebook is a business – one that’s now called Meta – in which money is typically the bottom line, but that doesn’t negate the necessity of good business ethics.

All the negativity surrounding Facebook appeared to spread over the surface, like a crude black oil slick on the ocean, after the company’s recent earnings report, which subsequently saw the beleaguered social business lose about a quarter of its overall worth, with hundreds of billions of dollars disappearing instantly. That’s no joke. Perhaps most telling, though, was the first ever drop in active daily users of the Facebook app and website itself.

That fewer people like or use Facebook is no surprise. Anecdotally, in my own reduced usage of the social service, I’ve noticed that fewer of my friends use the site, and some that still use it are much less active there. Besides that, I’ve seen or read news reports that reveal a similar state, like the fact that people in the age of Gen Z simply don’t use Facebook. Many flock to rivals like Snapchat or Tik Tok. And while many use Instagram, a Facebook – I mean Meta – service, even that platform is seeing growth and usage challenges; the outside regulation drumbeat is louder than ever.

Facebook, now 18 years old, is in a state of slow decline. It will likely stick around for years to come, but I think it will be used less over time and become more obscure, irrelevant, or obsolete. On one hand, that’s not surprising; everything eventually finishes its course, one way or another. On the other hand, Facebook’s huge global scale, reach, and bank account often made it seem unstoppable, as though unassailable by scandal and impermeable to social entropy. Recent years’ worth of upset has proven otherwise, and its mortality appears confirmed. Like water dripping on a stone over time, Facebook is eroding, its social fabric unraveling.

People are resilient; they must survive. So Facebook users will dwindle and move onto other things. Whether or not those are better or worse is another story. Will it be Facebook’s – I mean Meta’s – metaverse? I seriously doubt it. For one, it’s too much like the hype around virtual reality in the mid 90’s. Worse, Meta’s metaverse is Mark Zuckerberg’s space. Nobody should be there. Leaving Zuckerberg’s Facebook only to join his Metaverse would be a bad move, like the proverbial jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. That’s not survival, it’s self-destruction.

Instagram Challenger Bokeh Canceled

Around early Summer 2019, a new photo social network was kickstarted. Bokeh was to be like Instagram before Facebook ruined it. With promise and potential built-in, being based upon solid core principles, I was interested and supportive, backing the endeavor on Kickstarter. Sadly, after two years in development, the project has been canceled.

I was enthusiastic about Bokeh and the idea that something like the original Instagram could reappear. I wanted a social media platform more focused on the photo aspect rather than the social aspect. I guess that would have been like Flickr is now, which when I last checked was still pretty nice.

While a bit disappointing to see the project not meet its goals, I understand not all dreams become reality. Still, it was worth a shot; I believed in it.

Now that we’re at this point, though, I’m wondering if maybe it’s best to not have any new social media sites. They simply tend to degrade over time for various reasons. However, there is another new photo/social site up and coming called Glass.

Glass seems to embody similar core principles as did Bokeh, one being that it’s a paid service, so it’s not based on the scammy ad model that sucks up all your private/personal data (meta or otherwise), using it to target ads at you, and possibly using it for other nefarious purposes. The other Bokeh-like feature is no algorithms, just a chronological feed. How quaint! Also no metrics, no likes, and only commenting; I’d like to try that.

So we have Flickr and Glass available for photo/social and maybe others I’m not aware of. Good options exist for something like Instagram circa 2011, but I don’t have the same interest in all that anymore. When the photo bug bites me again, I’ll probably just use SmugMug owned Flickr. But Glass remains on my radar.

Facebook Now Meta Still Problematic

Last week, reaping a negative PR blitz, Facebook the company announced its new name, “Meta.” Maybe they should have added a “The,” you know, to make it messier. ”The Meta.”

From what I’ve read, people will be able to make a new accounton Meta, separate from the Facebook site. If that’s the case, then I look forward to NOT creating a Meta account. Ever.

If Mark Zuckerberg creates a unifying and all-encompassing interface/platform to access the ever-present nebulous metaverse — isn’t that really just cyberspace? — that billions of people are to rely upon, then he will be an ever more powerful gatekeeper, more than he already is for the current set of apps/services: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus.

If Meta finds success, then will the CEO’s increased power be matched with an increase in responsibility with accountability? And if Zuckerberg’s legion of employees already cannot adequately moderate the company’s current social sites, then how can they be the watchmen for the larger metaverse? Finally, after 17 years of existence, the US government is just now starting to regulate social media. How long will it take to regulate the metaverse, let alone understand what it even is? These and related questions deserve careful consideration.

At the same time, I doubt the overall idea of accessing the metaverse via a unified augmented reality interface through multiple advanced tech devices. Such lofty and ambitious sci-fi claims are somewhat confounding and dubious. While certain niche applications may find utility in a hi-tech conceit like the metaverse, I don’t think that paradigm will become ubiquitous.

One reason is the simple fact that, no matter how affordable devices become, most people who don’t already wear glasses, for example, will not want to suddenly wear glasses — no matter how “smart” they are — just to use a “computer.” Expecting billions of people to submit to the daily wearing of specialized gear other than maybe a watch on their wrist — which is already a relative sign of privilege or luxury — is naive and overly optimistic. If the brand was known for quality software and hardware and had a good reputation — like Apple — then maybe this would be plausible, but it’s the privacy-challenged Meta/Facebook company, which continues to erode what little trust it has, if any.

“Meta” may expand the scope of Zuckerberg’s reach and influence, for better or worse, and it might be, for the sake of argument, a positive step forward. That said, instead of fully accounting for social media’s extant data privacy issues, among other business ethics concerns and global-scale controversies, Zuckerberg is charging ahead with bigger ideas. This seems reckless, akin to his former mantra, “Move fast and break things.” Must society suffer repeating the broken record? Not wanting to sound alarmist, I mean to err on the side of caution — not warning — which is warranted given the years of scandals and now hard evidence from the Facebook Papers; social media needs correction rather than expansion.

I’d like to think I’m overreacting and that “Meta” is just a new name for Zuckerberg’s existing company, nothing more than a re-branding, so there’s no real change to see here; move along. However, the metaverse idea reflected in ”Meta” shows that the Facebook CEO remains as ambitious as ever, and it suggests a greater unification of Meta’s family of apps and services, a refocusing to bolster whatever Zuckerberg wants to build. It’s like adding more reinforcement to the foundation of social media while the underlying ground remains unstable, causing constant upheaval.

What can or should people do? If not delete Instagram or delete Facebook — and if nothing else — then this: do not create an account on Meta. Don’t join Meta. Resist ongoing years of controversy from Zuckerberg’s productions and avoid cycles of #DeleteMeta. Cut it off before it starts.

October Unfriends Facebook

This month has been one bad report after another for Facebook, coming to a crescendo this week with an onslaught of unfriendly news for Facebook and its Newsfeed. The clarion call to #DeleteFacebook may be at its loudest ever. Yet shareholders seem content, billions of dollars keep piling up, and billions of people seem stuck on the social media service — myself included.

Mark Zuckerberg may never step down or be ousted, but new regulation from the US, England, and maybe more countries, seems inevitable at this point. If that ultimately is good or bad remains to be seen. Hopefully it’s enough to mitigate the deleterious effects of Facebook and also prevent any other company from reaching similar dubious status.

I’m sure you’ve heard something of the above in the news already. Maybe you’ve deleted your Facebook account. As for me, well yeah, I’ve deleted my Facebook account…many times; I always end up returning to the love/hate relationship. I’ve tried to document that on my blog. Also for the record, I remain active on Twitter, a social media site.

For a long time, amidst whatever Facebook PR crisis, I wasn’t moved. But this month, especially this week, I am seriously considering giving the social network a thumbs down and deleting it again. Unfortunately, I would likely end up creating a new account within a year because that’s been my pattern. The pull of close family and friends who remain on Facebook wears me down until, eventually, I’ve forgotten the ills and miss the “thrills” of cat pix, silly memes, and birthday wishes.

There are a few things I find useful on Facebook, like certain Groups for coordinating events . Marketplace also has utility, though it has degraded in recent years. Otherwise, my use of Facebook is infrequent at best. I do not have the app on my phone or tablet, and I only occasionally check the site for new messages, which are few. So for me, Facebook isn’t an addiction; I actively avoid the Newsfeed. That’s why, despite the site’s general woes, I have not been driven to nuke it from orbit like in times past.

That is, of course, until recently. I think there is a good case on principle to delete Facebook; I’ve stated similar thoughts on my blog before. That the company is, on some level, a threat to US democracy, foreign governments, and other societies, seems more than plausible. It appears to be fact at this point, given all the smoking hints since 2017 and now fiery hard evidence with the Facebook Papers. There’s a lot to be said against Facebook and global-scale social media in general, though I don’t wish to dredge it all up now.

Instead of reiterating Facebook’s problems, here’s a potential solution: one form of government regulation should enact a user count cap. Simply make a rule that says any social media site may not have more than 1 billion registered user accounts, and any social media company may not have more than 1 billion registered users. So in the case of Facebook with its three big apps: Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp, all three apps combined cannot have more than 1 billion users. This simple rule would help contain global-scale reach, whether positive or negative. Given the amount of adverse effects worldwide as evidenced from Facebook, a user cap would mititage against such problems.

Surely there are other ideas to help; if you have some, please comment below. In any case, a question I ask is: are the net effects of Facebook more good or more bad? That is tough to answer. When the news media is in an uproar against Facebook’s latest misdeeds, it’s easy to think the company’s net effects are indeed negative; so delete it! When the calm follows the storm — and no elections, riots, coups, insurrections, or pandemics are taking place — the Newsfeed can seem like a happy bit of escapism from the daily grind, full of relevant ads for my favorite coffee and also funny animal videos.

Bottom line: for now, I’m keeping my Facebook account, for better or worse, but am very close to deleting it again. Because of the years of repeated privacy problems fueling lack of trust in Facebook and seeing its ill affect on my own family and society in general, I really do think we would all be better off without Facebook. I wish the platform would crumble, not for glee over witnessing the mighty fall, but for the safety and sanity of billions of people, like myself, who can’t seem to escape its reach.

Facebook the company is too big and too powerful, and it still rests in the total control of one man. How does that not sound off more alarms? And where is the US government’s new regulations to rein in Zuckerberg’s reign? Isn’t it time to constrain and restrain social media?

Reset Your Digital Self

You know the flustered feeling that all your tech devices and social media services can bring? Turns out, the overwhelming mental clutter can be relieved. I’m not talking about a radical shift like Digital Minimalism, although that would help. It can be simple. In this case, I’m referring to an informative post with a few ideas for a Digital Reset.

Click over to the blog of Anil Dash and check out the list of steps he takes to regain control over his tech life. It’s straightforward and down-to-earth. I like the practical tidbits he shares.

Two of his key principles I especially want to echo here.

Fear Of Missing Out

First, if you decide to step away from social media, FOMO is not as bad as you think. The acute feeling of denial – that fear of not knowing what the latest cool meme is – subsides quickly, being replaced by tranquil relief from the onslaught of info overload.

Deliberate Data

The second principle is about all that info. It’s good to have only intentional info.

For me, the best way to have this is to not have any news feeds! So avoiding social media, I like to intentionally go to websites that I know and trust for certain info. I even use a DuckDuckGo search field to find new info – on purpose!

All it takes is a little clicking and typing and swiping – slightly more effort than mindlessly doom-scrolling Twitter or Facebook.

Addressing Algorithms

If or when I do interact with social media accounts, I like Anil’s idea of resetting the algorithms that fill the feed with stuff. Maybe if I un-pause my Twitter usage, I will likewise unfollow everyone, or at least do a massive purge and slowly rebuild the feed content.

This past week, I unfriended 76 people’s accounts on Facebook. I’m sure my newsfeed will look different now, but I rarely visit Facebook anymore. Shrug.

There are other ways to do a digital reset beyond social media. If it sounds like a good idea to you, go read Anil’s post. I think you’ll find it helpful.

My Latest Social Media Distancing

Okay, here’s what’s up. I’m pausing my social media usage. Why? Lately, Twitter and Facebook have been negative or harmful. I’ve felt the adverse effects on myself, and I’ve seen it happen to others. Again, I’m re-thinking that social media’s affect on society is detrimental. It’s also unnecessary.

Social Media Moratorium

I posted recently that I won’t, at this time, delete my Facebook account. That’s not changed. So far, I’ve done a few things and am considering others:

  • Logged out of my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Deleted the Facebook and Twitter bookmarks from my laptop.
  • Deleted the Twitter webapp from my iPhone. (I already deleted the Facebook and Messenger apps and I don’t use Instagram.)
  • Maybe remove the Twitter widget from my blog.
  • Maybe stop my blog cross-posts from WordPress to Twitter.

Rather than Delete or Deactivate any of my social accounts now, I’m going dormant by removing my quick easy access to them and ceasing most activity with them, at least for a season.

What’s buggin’ me now about Facebook and Twitter? Why do I feel like it’s time to cease and desist, “deplatforming” myself? Well, as you may have noticed, it’s all the political stuff and bad news.

Also, I’m reminded of the extant problems with social media in general, laid out concisely in Glenn Reynolds’ short book, The Social Media Upheaval. I think it’s worth reading again.

I’ll feel some acute FOMO, but it’ll be short lived. When news is so negative online, I choose to distance from it and live more positively with hope offline.

That said, I’m still gonna surf the web! There are many great websites with their own comment sections and sub-communities. And I like sites that are niche-topic-social-sites. On those, people only post about the subject that the site is all about; basically, you can geek-out there! Three examples:

  • Flickr – a social-like site about photos.
  • Goodreads – a social-like site about books and reading.
  • Grouvee – a social-like site about video gaming.

Of course, I’ll also continue my blog. I can geek out on whatever, with a focus on cool tech and fun gaming. And I’ll engage more in the WordPress Reader with other active bloggers.

Before Social Media, there was the Blogosphere!

I still use email and texting and instant messaging with my closest friends and family. So why do we need social media…? Actually, we don’t!

So there it is. Two weeks into 2021, and I already need to step away from the social feeds.

I guess that’s progress.

Easy To Quit Facebook

Hi there, web peoples. Recently, there’s been more negative chatter online about Facebook and WhatsApp and social media in general, even Big Tech. As usual, my use of Facebook in particular waxes and wanes. Lately, I’ve been re-evaluating my account. Will I keep it, or delete it for the Nth time?

One thought is, well, I could delete my Facebook account – again. It’s easy! I’ve done it like 4 or 5 times in the past 12 years! Seriously. I have.

It’s like the infamous joke about quitting smoking – it’s easy and you can quit anytime. It’s true!

Using Facebook is like smoking. Let that sink in.

But it sure isn’t easy to stay quit for good. I always end up being drawn back to Facebook, to those connections, to family, to relationships, and even the Marketplace. After a few months being totally free from the Book of Faces, I forget the bad parts and miss the good parts. Then I rejoin.

I know that if I delete my Facebook account, then I will likely end up returning. So I will not nuke it from orbit at this time.

But this doesn’t mean I must remain a Facebook User. For a while, I’ve mostly been ignoring or avoiding it. So I’m more of a Facebook Account Holder. A non-active user. I also won’t Deactivate it. It’s there when I want to check in.

The thing that has helped me is that I deleted the Facebook app and the Messenger app from my phone last Fall. And I have no desire to reinstall. I recommend keeping the app off your phone.

All that said, there’s still a chance I will delete my Facebook account in the future. I have no qualms about pulling the plug. Things about Facebook would have to get worse. And frankly, I think things will do just that. Facebook will likely deteriorate…

If more people leave Facebook for other alternatives, then the network effect will weaken to the point where being on Facebook will be pointless. Then I could shake the dust off my feet as I too exit Zuckerburg’s social network.

For now, I’ll just keep social distancing from Facebook. Thanks.