What I’ve learned not using Facebook for more than two years
This article is also available in 🇮🇹 italian here
Just over two years ago I reached the saturation point. The moment when everything that you bear with great difficulty, ceases to be tolerable. You get to this point when you are constantly under pressure while you continue to be subjected to informations that does not help you feel comfortable, on the contrary, agitate you.
To try to clarify this point in a raw way, I will use the example of the Foie Gras, the goose liver paté.
The recipe for this ancient French dish is to feed the geese or ducks in an abnormal way through a tube full of food in order to make them gain weight. The paté is made up of 80% fat and the remaining 20% of liver meat of the animal and other substances that I am not sure I know. Forced feeding induces the liver to an unnatural growth and leads to the contracting of a condition called hepatic steatosis. All this to delight the fine palates of some gentlemen from the XVIII up to our days. Today the preparation of the Foie gras has become illegal in most of Europe.
Well, now imagine that you are sentient geese, that your smartphone is the tube and all the informations you read on social media is force feeding. When I decided to disable my Facebook profile in mid-2016, I saw myself as a fat goose feeded by informations.
I had come to the point of not tolerating everything that was said on social media and so I wrote a post with all the motivations I felt to list, not so much for those who read the post but to understand why I was deactivating from the social network.
Because thinking about it, someone could say:
Nobody forces you to read that information, turn off your computer and don’t care about it!
Well, it’s not really like that. Social networks have a very high rate of alienation that hypnotizes you and steals your attention from the rest of the world, isolating you from what you have around you, from the people in front of you and from most external stimuli. And so, after thinking about it a lot:
stop. I disabled my account and started doing a series of things that I thought I did not have time to do. And most of these things were computer work anyway. Yeah, I did not disconnect to go paragliding but to be able to not constantly distract myself while I was writing or editing a video or working on Photoshop. And I must say that it worked as my serotonin was starting to regain its natural balance.
But what is serotonin? Well, it’s a substance that produces our brain that makes us “happy and satisfied” on several occasions. When we receive “likes” or positive comments for example, our brain produces this substance that puts us in a good mood. And so we continue to post something online to get more feedback and get this feeling back. But the continuous and massive production of this substance can lead to periods of apathy because our brain makes an excessive effort to produce the substance and we can end up experiencing strong states of depression.
When I was spending hours on facebook, one thing that bothered me and that made me angry was the fact that as much as I tried to produce material that could generate likes, I do not received feedback (especially on my Fan Pages) but I saw excessively trivial contents with thousands of like. This thought constantly gave me a sense of agitation coupled with an inadequacy that made me think “Maybe what I do is of no interest to anyone”. Well, of course not, the real problem was that many people paid Facebook or dedicated services to show their content or even impose their content on our eyes. Exactly like forced ads in Black Mirror.
For many years I wrote for some blogs that had already created a network of contacts. For the first time I did not have to worry about spamming my news everywhere in every corner of the social network. What has come out is that if the news is sold for what it is, nobody cares. It must be passed off for something else, must have a catchy title that touches the sensitivity of the reader and that somehow compels him to open the link maybe wounding it on an ethical level. I told part of my experience in a Webserie, where I described the story of a journalist who had lost interest in writing. Here is a passage:
It was one of the few times Otis received a cash sum for one of her articles, but after receiving more than a hundred insults on the newspaper’s Facebook page for the aforementioned article, she had lost any interest in this job. On that occasion he could see what a media circus was and how vital and necessary were the negative comments and indignation to be able to live as a web journalist.
Hatred is a magnet of curiosity. And let’s not forget the importance of timing, the true fuse of every opinion. The timing in knowing how to say the thing that works at the right time. The thing that works, not the right thing. An offense that creates indignation works but is not the right thing. Avoiding speaking only to attract attention to yourself may be the right thing but it is not the thing that works.
Stories give way to tell in a maximum of 15 seconds a moment of your life that will be deleted after 24 hours and allows you to view the profiles of those who saw them (except for those who view the hashtags, there you can only know the number of people but not who). The idea of doing something that would have vanished after a day tickled me.
So I started to publish on instagram but this made my facebook account reactivated, because facebook and instagram are connected.
I discovered this after some people in the real world told me that my profile had reappeared. In any case, I continued not to reopen it, nor to read the messages, or for the notifications, or for the continuous memories of things done years ago taken at random by people with whom I do not even have any relations. What interested me at the time was to practice creating 15-second videos. For a long time I preferred to publish Stories rather than the posts, as the posts mostly attracted bots via Hashtag. I discovered shortly after there are some software associated with an Instagram profile, they automatically like posts that contain certain Hashtags.
But in the continuous study of the Instagram platform I realized that I was returning to feel that malaise I felt on facebook, certainly in a minor way, especially because I viewed the phone from Instagram and it does not steal the amount of time that stole me facebook on pc … . or at least not at the beginning. Instagram, however, gives me the opportunity to contact anyone and over time I managed to get several interviews internationally for some newspapers and I am quite proud of this thing.
But now comes the worst part: Six months ago I started working for a company as SEO/SEM and SOCIAL Specialist. I was able to convince the company to move its market on Instagram and the thing has generated in the months a certain income (without ever using bots) but to manage the advertising insertions of Instagram in a complete way (tracking pixels, remarketing and many others things), it’s mandatory to use Facebook Business, the insertion platform of Facebook (and Instagram) from PC. Within a few months I realized that to do this I had to reopen Facebook from PC every day. It is true that I did not reopen my bulletin board but only the company page, but it gave me a deep and constant annoyance, because the ads have a cost.
It’s almost two years since I stopped using my Facebook profile but it did not do any good because in one way or another I’m still there. So now I have come back to it actively. Social networks remain a legalized drug like alcohol and cigarettes and excessive abuse leads to serious illnesses that are not taken seriously and seriously. Indeed, social media have become a real propaganda vehicle capable of conditioning millions of people from political or cultural points of view, raising marketing specialists disguised as clowns to real examples to follow and this has alienated me from writing.
Not being able to tell the emotions is something that in recent years has given me the opportunity to focus on other needs. I spent most of my life trying to describe certain moments in my life. Most of the time the trigger that led me to write was my feelings towards the people I cared most about. It always proved difficult to talk without saying anything, I always wanted to write for people who wanted to get informations with me. But it’s been more than a year since I have not wanted to tell anything … well, except my experience, as I just did.
Maybe you can get away from Facebook but you can not escape from social networks, at least I have not succeeded.