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DeleteFacebook

It's been a little over a month since I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts. At the beginning I went through some weird cravings to check something, anything and: scroll, scroll, scroll! That probably lasted a couple of weeks. I was constantly getting into news websites, checking the weather forecast, checking e-mail... in a rate that was abnormal. Even sites with any addictive features like Read.Write.as became an obsession. I realized I was just duplicating a learned behaviour after using the internet for years: scrolling endlessly. If one source was done, I jumped to another, to keep on scrolling. Weird. I think it was a withdrawal reaction. And for the first time I was aware that this scrolling addiction was imprinted in me at a subconscious level.

After the realization something clicked in my head: I just decided that was not a behaviour I wanted to practice anymore. I also observed that my phone was my twitch. It was easy enough to reach out and start some “doom scrolling”. This post “How My Digital Lifestyle is Changing” brings the definition of “doom scrolling” which I found interesting. So, yeah, my digital lifestyle is changing as well.

And every time we stop doing an addictive behaviour we better have a substitute. A more fulfilling one. Cal Newport in his book “Digital Minimalism” says that if we white-knuckle through a “digital declutter” without substituting the old behaviour with a better one, we will go back to the old behaviour. And social media, specifically, are basically a replacement for social interaction. We think it will fulfill our “social bucket” but then we are caught up in its addictive algorithms and the quality social connection we expected is not there. Cal Newport suggests that we need to think about high quality leisure activities to replace the time we would have spent otherwise (like doom scrolling).

For me, reading, writing, long walks with my partner and yoga were my substitutes last month. I fulfilled the social part of the equation by engaging with my city's local science-fiction and fantasy book club. They've been having virtual meet-ups since the pandemic started. I attended one meeting yesterday and had lots of fun! Since I'm an introvert I don't crave a whole lot of social interaction, so that was the perfect cup of tea.

After I felt I was disengaged enough from the scrolling addictive behaviour, I started exploring the Fediverse to see how it was different from the major social media platforms. I have a Mastodon account now. At first I thought I would fall into the same old doom scrolling pattern, but since it's decentralized and it doesn't have the ads/news monetizing cycle, I don't feel the addictive pull. I access it on my own terms and it doesn't create that craving or FOMO feeling for me. I'll keep on experimenting.

I just saw this video today by The Minimalists that I think gets to one of the main issue with social media, and it is by design. Food for thought.

#socialmedia #attentionresistance #internet #noisymusings #deletefacebook #digitalminimalism


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

My process to delete these social media accounts has a timeline. It was not overnight.

Delete Facebook - Jan 10, 2021

Being aware

I've been thinking about the attention economy and social media addiction since at least 2016.

I created my Facebook account in 2009. After Facebook introduced the bottomless scrolling newsfeed with companies advertising inside the platform, I started to get annoyed by it. But at the same time I developed an addiction to it. I remember that feeling of logging in to Facebook and scrolling for a couple hours only to realize it was a waste of time. But everybody I knew was (is) there: high school friends, friends I made at a training course in Sweden, family, co-workers, bloggers, etc. This was before the Cambridge Analytica scandal but I remember seeing those “personality polls” they used to get information. I don't think I ever clicked on those, but they were everywhere.

Trying to remove distractions but still using it

I decided to get rid of Facebook's feed by “unfollowing” everyone I knew. This was before there were plugins or extensions that could hide your entire timeline. Then I used plugins extensively to avoid the feed and all the ads. I was only interested in participating in some Groups that organized local meet-ups, for example. So I used tricks to only see the Groups when I logged in and avoided all the other distracting things on the page.

Long story short, all those strategies weren't getting to the core of the problem. I started to join more groups and I was still checking Facebook every day, several times a day.

Read more...

Hello!! It was a little quiet around here and I'll explain why.

Around 6 months me and my husband left our home country to start a new life in Canada (the picture is a hint of exactly Where in Canada). And I can tell you that these first 6 months were intense!

Moving to a foreign country is a marvelous experience. During the first months I felt like I was reborn because I was learning new things 24 hours a day. In a sense I felt like a child again!

Everything was new:

  • looking for a place to live;
  • understanding how rental contracts work;
  • buying furniture, learning to use the public transit;
  • looking for a job;
  • figuring out groceries and everyday products;
  • getting a driver's license;
  • filing tax returns;
  • getting used to the local slang;
  • experiencing the Canadian winter for the first time;
  • finding out which type of winter boots are right for you;
  • learning how to skate....

......and many, many more things. It has been quite a ride!

So now that the most urgent life essentials are dealt with, I got a job and my routine is running smoothly, I will get back to writing here.

I survived winter (and loved it!), I saw the Tulips Festival I don't own a TV for the first time in my life and I feel rejuvenated.

I continued to read a lot during these months and I've been rethinking my social media usage.

Social Internet

So, I want to recommend 2 articles by Cal Newport:

They really got me thinking about my relationship with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. What is connection? Is having followers a useful type of connection? Why we feel the need to post photos of our food to strangers? What is happening? Who owns my data after it is published? Aren't we just being used?

Cal Newport makes a distinction between “social internet” and “social media”. The first is about meaningful connections and learning, the second is about companies monetizing these interactions. And Newport gives some ideas on how to embrace the social internet. He is in advocate of everybody having their own website:

“In other words, acquire your own damn digital land on which you can do whatever you want without anyone else trying to exploit you or influence your behavior.” — by Cal Newport

That is an interesting approach because social media is now a huge business in which our attention is being used for monetization. That is scary! And how come clicking a “like” button or blindly sharing headlines have become a social expression?

Anyway, these were all reflections I had during these months amidst living new experiences and having the best time of my life doing so. I will write more about these topics.

Spring is here (if you are in the northern hemisphere) so let's be mindful of our time and escape from being negatively influenced by social media.

Note: Cal Newport is writing a book on “digital minimalism” and I am really looking forward to it!

#socialmedia #attentionresistance


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.