– Ben Martens

Unplugging From Facebook

Yesterday somebody asked if I’m still using Facebook. “Oh yeah, I guess I haven’t posted anything there in a while.” The truth is, I’ve almost completely weaned myself off of Facebook.

I already knew that I was wasting a lot of time each day checking Facebook, but the last presidential election turned my stomach enough to make me want to start taking more drastic measures to break my habit. (Remember the last time YOU changed your opinion because somebody disagreed with you on Facebook? No? Why do you think it will work the other way around?) I started by installing the F.B. Purity plugin for Chrome. It let me configure exactly which parts of the interface I want to hide and even lets me hide posts with specific words. Here’s what my word block list looks like “Trump, Hillary, Clinton, Greenpeace, Wildtree, Isagenix”.

That cleaned things up a lot, but it didn’t do much to break my habit and I found myself trusting Facebook less and less. It was time to get more extreme so I deleted almost everything I’ve ever posted to Facebook. That turns out to be really difficult if you’re not willing to delete your account, but another Chrome plugin, Social Book Post Manager, automates the process a bit. It’s not perfect but it’s way faster than clicking by hand.

Next, I started unfollowing people. A lot of people. EVERYONE. You know how to break the Facebook habit? Make it so that every time you go to the site, there is literally nothing new. Even then it took me a shocking amount of time to stop going there out of habit. It was ridiculous and eye opening.

The nice thing about this solution is that I can still choose to spend some time browsing updates from specific people, but I’ve removed the mindless browsing half a dozen times a day. For now I still cross post some of my Instagram photos to Facebook but even that is dying off. Instagram seems like a lot happier environment, but it will probably devolve into the same cesspool that Twitter and Facebook have become. (And yes, I know that Instagram is owned by Facebook.)

I’m not here to preach that this is right for everyone, but if you’re looking for a way out, it IS possible. And if you’re just wondering why I’m not commenting or liking (or maybe even posting at all), now you know why.