Edited August 26, 2014
I am now largely Facebook-free. I keep a discrete account there which I use primarily to maintain access to the RoadsideOnline page, but otherwise, I’ve left the building. I choose now to focus more of my social media consumption on Google Plus, where I mostly use it for the feeds that reflect my personal and professional interests. I’ve found that most of those companies and organizations that post to Facebook also have a presence on Google Plus.
Essentially, I grew tired of Facebook’s intrusion into my online experience and manipulation of my timeline. When I “like” something, I expect that I will receive any and all posts from that source, not the one’s that Facebook thinks I’ll find interesting. Google also doesn’t seem (at least not yet) to care too much about my personal life. It’s not constantly asking me questions about me or forcing ads into my feed.
I’ve largely left behind about 250 “friends”, from which I mostly hear from only about a dozen on any given week. Most of the time (and I say this with peace and love), I find their posts uninteresting at best or downright infuriating at worst. I had already taken to “unfollowing” a large percentage of these friends.
The worst of this chatter gravitates towards politics, and sadly, I’ve lost a few of these friends over political disagreements. I’m inclined to be provocative with my opinions — something well-understood by anyone who truly knows me, but my attitude towards all this is simple: I really don’t care if you disagree with me. I care more about your attitude and your intellectual curiosity.
I’ve learned that people’s stances on life and politics evolve through personal experience more than anything seen on Fox News or read on the Daily Kos. Tolerance requires that we at least try to understand the history of that experience.
Off-the-cuff and combative remarks like “fuck him in the ear” bespeaks of a lazy mind first of all, and a dangerous lack of tolerance. I cannot abide by that, especially from people I call my friends.
This isn’t the first time I jumped off the Facebook train, and I won’t say that I won’t return. This move does force me to focus better on my tasks at hand. I found that whenever I hit a lull in my workflow, I would automatically check on my Facebook timeline. That, of course, could waste anywhere from five to fifteen minutes each time. Lord knows how much that totals, but my sense tells me that it was killing my productivity.
Google Plus has some downsides as well. My actual friends and family don’t use it all that much, so I can’t interact as often. Again, I’m not entirely sure that’s a bad thing, but it does make me feel somewhat out of touch. Also, I have many iOS apps that all-but-require a Facebook account to work, which is another reason why I do maintain an account. At least I don’t feel like Google Plus wants to take over my life
Overall, however, Google Plus gives me a better balance of information — at least for now. It also has a MUCH better interface.
I have by no means left “The Grid”. I still have Beeblehead.com and my email addresses, not to mention my AIM and Skype handles. I just can’t endure the noise generated by Facebook which has, in effect, turned everyone into a publisher, editor, and broadcaster all in one.