I’ve read about studies, some dating from several years ago, indicating that using Facebook makes people unhappy. Those stories ring true to me. Facebook used to be a way for me to keep up with my friends’ lives and activities. That is especially important to me, because my job keeps me separated from my friends and family back home in Michigan and around the world.
While I have been a relatively active user of Facebook for over ten years, and I still like the idea of social networks, Facebook seems less like a social network and more like a media outlet. Instead of seeing news from my friends, I see more and more content that is pushed to me. And that content has come under heavy criticism and suspicion as being fake news.
After the recent presidential election results, I found myself feeling worse when I looked at the posts on Facebook. I took a break from posting and from using the site for a few weeks. I found myself feeling better. That has made me think that the studies were probably applicable to me. Facebook makes me sad.
If something makes you feel worse instead of feeling better, the sane thing to do is to stop doing that thing. And if “that thing” is using Facebook, then it makes sense for me to stop using Facebook.
It isn’t as simple as quitting completely. Social networks are an important medium for keeping in touch with my friends and family. Facebook is the dominant social network. Cancelling my account doesn’t make sense. I have to be judicious about how I limit the way that Facebook makes me sad.
The provisional policy is this: I will log into Facebook, but I will not scroll down the page. If there is a notification or a message for me, it will appear at the top. I will not scroll down read other people’s posts. I have found that the level of sad that I experience on Facebook is directly proportional to the amount of scrolling that I do. If scrolling=sad, then I choose not to scroll.
I’ll continue to link my blog to my Facebook account. If you want to comment on my posts, I will get a notification, and I will read and respond to them. I hope to maintain contact with my friends online. I just can’t do the sad.
We’ll see how this works. Please keep in touch. I love you all. Let’s not make each other sad anymore. Life’s too short.