I finally found the answer to my search for a way to break Facebook’s hold over me. And it was so simple.
Understand this is something I’ve been hoping to do, trying to do, for months. Facebook, I believe, has become a destructive force. It lures you with connection, but then chooses who you connect with, tailors your online relationships to fit its algorithm, and taps into your feed to design ads that accomplish its end goal – making money from you and your connections.
But it’s lovely to see daily updates from people I care about, some of whom I’d lost touch with. I can see pictures of new members of the family, keep up on events in everyone’s lives.
However. It’s also a bubble where we isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, and it’s allowing us to get socially lazy. Why make a phone call when we can post something on Facebook?
I’ve tried to back away. I’ve announced my intention to do so. And I’ve failed. It is an addiction, and someday I suspect there will be studies showing it’s changed us, and not for the better.
But this morning, the clouds parted, a heavenly choir sang in eight-part harmony, and I found myself shutting the page within moments. I didn’t think about it. I wanted to.
It looked different. I don’t know if it was a glitch on my computer, in their system, but the home page was suddenly enormous. The posts were giant, and photographs filled the screen. A post about Betsy DeVos showed her in such extreme closeup that it was actually disturbing.
I had to hunt around for a menu, for settings, and I tried, once I found them, to get back to my old, familiar Facebook screen.
I failed. And after a moment, I realized that it really could be just that simple. If you don’t like how a page looks, you leave it.
So I did. And if I am tempted to head back, and I find this glitch has fixed itself, I’m going to break it again. It’s pretty liberating.
Now if I can only find an effective alternative to advertising real estate on Facebook.
Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.