Setting Twitter aside for the moment, I'd like to clarify why someone like me, an advocate for free speech and generally anti-corporate, is still a member of the time-leech social influencer known as Facebook and it's associated leeches.
As Facebook has aged, it's become a stomping ground for the older adopters who are more inclined to spread fake news, have more archaic worldviews and are generally users who rarely venture outside the Facebook environment. These users have all sorts of opinions about privacy laws and most are in clear opposition to big data funnels like Facebook, expressing their views of individualism and liberty using their profiles on a social network which quite glaringly doesn't support their views. Ironic.
Over the last few months I've been winding down my digital marketing business, and because I no longer need my account to access the Facebook Ads account, I've been considering shutting it down for good. However, whenever I go to deactivate/delete my account, I'm faced with the realization that my family (the old Facebook users spreading fake news) are not interested in trying out new social platforms because they simply don't care about privacy breaches to the extent that they're willing to migrate. All their friends and family are on Facebook, as well as their digital social footprint which ties intimately using tagged photos and celebrations of significant life events which would be lost if they were to go dark.
So I've decided to stay on Facebook, if for nothing else but to be present in my family and friends' lives. Giving me a platform that connects better than Whatsapp or any other chat group could do, but managing the risk myself by understanding and mitigating it with a few simple steps.
How I've made Facebook tolerable:
- Removed all sources of news (real and fake) as I now use aggregates like Google News and Flipboard for my daily news intake
- Removed any pages whose content I consume on other platforms
- Removed any groups I haven't been active in for longer than a year
- Unfollowed (not unfriended) friends whose content I find irritating or irrelevant to my daily life
- Regularly hide ads that I find intrusive or incorrectly targeted (don't get me wrong, I find targeted ads are actually great for exposure to new products and services)
- Disconnected Facebook from any apps I previously used it to sign in with
What am I left with?
A social network that focuses on only my private life, excluding all toxic external influences. I barely post on Facebook anymore, unless it's something I believe my network should see (birth of a child, anniversaries, special occasions, etc). I'm no longer feeding an ads machine with data about my interactions with pages or groups that result in meaningless and time consuming content, making Facebook my own private family and friends network.
I've taken similar steps with my other social network profiles, turning each one into a purpose driven tool as opposed to simply being a cash-cow masquerading as online presence.
I'm curious to hear from others still using Facebook, or from those who've voluntarily banished themselves from the platform - Do you think social media is better used as a tool? Or would removing oneself from these platforms be the only realistic solution to data guzzling media machines?