The Facebook experiment- quitting fb for 50 days

19th may, around 11pm

Like any other normal day, I was browsing through my news feed on facebook. There was a constant stream of troll faces, weird facts and other kinds of ‘not so important’ clutter flowing in. I had spent the whole evening looking at various profiles, multiple photos and going back in time through my timeline. It was quite evident through my timeline that in the past few days I had invested a lot of time into facebook and gained nothing out of it. Overall, I started hating myself for overdrafting my wastable hours. We all love to have fun and facebook at times adds some zing to our otherwise mundane lives. But when something becomes an obsession, and there is nothing to gain out of it, it starts getting on your nerves. I didn’t like it and I made this decision to quit facebook- at least for a temporary period of time.

What prompted me to quit facebook

There were various reasons as to why I quit facebook. It was not a momentous decision and I did take some time before I pulled the trigger.

  • Things that inspired me to quit facebook
  • Uninspiring things inside fb that inspired me to quit fb.

Things that inspired me to quit fb

1.  Matt cutts’ 30 day challenge video.

My self-imposed fb exile is not my first. I followed the 30 day challenge to quit drinking aerated drinks for a month. It lasted for 32 days before I started drinking cola/pepsi again. There were two things to take away from that challenge:

a) Its important to let something go albeit for a short period of time if you are addicted to it, and

b) It helped me to de-addict myself from cola and even though I didn’t completely stop drinking aerated drinks, I do prefer mineral water or fresh juices over them- contrary to what I used to do before the 30 day challenge.

The 30-day challenge video (watch it, you will feel inspired):

 2 .   Paul miller’s experiment of quitting the INTERNET:

This is one feat I can never pull off. Rather, I wouldn’t like to. But I wanted to try something I could really do and quitting facebook is nothing compared to quitting internet. Read about Paul miller’s experiment.

3.   It was simply boring.

 Uninspiring things inside fb that inspired me to quit

Its right there in the first para of my article: troll jokes. When it was new, it used to amuse me. Slowly, it started getting boring and then it became annoying. It is annoying  to see every other post in your feed contain ‘bitch please!’ jokes. I must admit some were really funny, but most weren’t.

There are three kinds of posts on fb: ones that are genuinely good and likeable. Then there are posts which are for informative purposes mostly from caring friends, and the third type is from those who have the sole motive of generating likes for their posts. Naturally, the third type of posts are the ones which get the least amount of feedback. Those are the people I loathe for.

And did I mention all those downright crappy apps in fb? The ‘xyz viewed your profile zillion times’ and the ‘john found out he will die in october next year’.. they are all over the place. These and all the crapville apps. They are the weeds in the facebook garden.

Birthdays: There is one good thing zuck’s billion dollar enterprise helped us with. Remembering our friends’ birthdays. Nothing wrong there, but the way people started using it is demoralising. This is how people on fb wish their friends:  A notification appears, they go to their wall, and type ‘Happy birthday !’ with or without the exclamation mark depending on how lazy the person typing is. Some other busy people would type- ‘hppy b’dy!’. The same people won’t even care if you died.

The sad part was that even I was falling for this and fake-wishing others. Most of these fake-wishes were exchanged with people I didn’t know well or I didn’t know at all. What’s the point? its just a waste of time.

Gender bias

You know which gender gets more attention on facebook. They can get the conversation started just by updating a status about anything. Even an emoji is more than enough to garner likes and a trillion comments. Idiots to blame.

Did I really miss facebook?

The answer is no and yes. I will do the no part first. As I have written already, there are a ton of things I don’t really like about facebook and you don’t miss something you don’t like. Neither did I miss it nor did my friends on facebook notice that I wasn’t there since the many past days. It was a  reality check, which showed how unimportant my presence is in others’ news feed or friend circle. It shows people are too busy doing their own thing. But there is nothing wrong about that. Friends who follow me on twitter did know about my #noFacebook challenge though. So, what did I miss?.. which leads us to

What did/will I miss about it?

A couple of things. Firstly, photos from friends. Facebook has primarily become a photo sharing social network. They even acquired instagram and released a dedicated photo sharing app a few weeks back. Apart from that, I miss updates and messages from those who use fb as the only online communication tool- messenger, groups etc. These few things will make me use fb in the future and not completely dump it.

The other social network

I am an internet addict. To be precise, I am a twitter addict. I love twitter and it partly fuels my ‘ I don’t miss facebook’ feeling. There is a lot that I have learnt from twitter and there is a lot of amazing stuff shared there. Its unfair to compare the quality of content on facebook to that on twitter. This is not to say that I expect everyone on fb to share the best content in the world, but no one asked you to share filth anyway. To quit twitter would be a herculean task, but I don’t intend to do it just for the sake of challenging myself. There is nothing to hate about it, and it would be only be foolish to do so- for the simple reason that I would be missing out on a lot of great stuff. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any useless good for nothing tweets in tweetverse but let me be clear- the facebook crowd is much much more dumb than the dumbest tweeps.

What did I gain?

After doing so much, did I really gain anything out of this? Yes. I am a lover of design and like to design interfaces. Its one of the interests I have and would like to pursue as my career. Recently, I started a new design blog- designfort.wordpress.com, designed something, learnt some new design tricks and read some good articles elsewhere on the internet by not using facebook. I didn’t increase my productivity by a great level, but I sure did have a good feeling about it. Plus, deleting facebook apps from my phone and tablet put an end to the disturbance caused by the stupid notifications I used to receive.

Secondly, this experiment has inspired me to quit some other things ( I havent decided what) for 30 days or more.

Conclusion

This experiment shows me how facebook is not that important in our lives. But it also is a great platform to socialise online and be up to date with what your old school friends are up to. There are many who love facebook and may be, my reasons for hating facebook aren’t justifiable. As I mentioned earlier, I do love some things about facebook that will make me come back to the site soon. But as with my ‘no aerated drinks for 30 days’ challenge, this experiment has helped me gain the will to click the sign out button when it really matters and not just fool around for the whole day.


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2 Comments

  1. Syed

     /  December 10, 2012

    Your Facebook article is very Nice … When did you take this challenge???????

    Reply

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