Here’s a useful tip: If you delete Facebook from your phone, you will check Facebook less often. A LOT less often.
In a scientific experiment starting the day after the election, I deleted the ubiquitous blue icon from my iPhone 6. That was right after putting out feelers regarding a move to Australia.
Still haven’t heard back from Australia, but over the past few days I’ve noticed a sharp decline in Facebook-induced rage, neurosis, confusion and overall angst.
It turns out that when I have to sit at my computer to examine the latest fake news and cat videos, I check the site approximately 29,000 fewer times per day than if I were looking at my phone. And by refusing to “like” or comment on anything, the number of notifications I get is now down to zero.
That represents a significant time savings! Also, the carpal-tunnel thing in my right hand is showing some improvement.
There are other upsides. I no longer have to spend so much valuable time unfriending people. And when I wake up in the middle of the night — kind of common when you’re my age — I no longer reach for the phone and compound the problem by stewing over incredibly inane posts by people who are also awake in the middle of the night.
The big surprise is that I am in no way less informed about the world, or my neighborhood. I check three or four reliable news sources in the morning, and then again at night. Presto! I’m up to speed.
If you don’t look at Facebook every freaking minute, it begins to recede in relevance. At least it seems that way. I’m still on there, but now only once or twice a day. In this new regimen, I find that if there are no new amusing cat videos, that’s all I need to know from Facebook.
What I’m forced to conclude is that, cat videos notwithstanding, Facebook doesn’t make make my life better. The thrill is gone, so to speak. A few of my “friends” have turned out to be people I might try to avoid at the supermarket. They’ve turned out to be people who spell the word “lose” as “loose.” They think “lol” is the height of cleverness and they put apostrophes in the wrong places.
People share things I’ve already read, or photos I’ve already seen, or “news” items that are at best misleading: “Watch (the person I like) EVISCERATE (the person I don’t like)!” Or, “She made a cheese omelet! You won’t BELIEVE what happens next!”
Then there are the targeted ads. You do one search for Depends Maximum Absorbency undergarments and that’s all you see for the next week.
But that’s enough for now. You don’t have to quit Facebook. Just try deleting it from your phone and see what you think. And then post about it, of course. On Facebook.