Remember the Ludovico Technique scene in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange where Alex is forced to watch violent images over and over? That’s Facebook. We are passively consuming horrific news, meaningless ads, ill informed opinion presented as fact, or any number of things that make us feel uncomfortable, are ‘unhealthy’ for us or make us feel worthless… all just by opening the app and mindlessly scrolling.
We are all addicted to Facebook and it’s not our fault. The entire experience has been designed and continually tweaked to make us come back for more. It creates fear of missing out and also simultaneously a sense of dread at the world around us. It is an intelligent, omnipotent presence and we need to take back some control if we don’t like the impact it has on us.
What is the impact, for example, of having so much information flashed before our eyes in such a short period of time (like A Clockwork Orange) How are we to interpret so much information, inform ourselves properly and see the world for what it is.
If for whatever reason it’s not right at this moment in time for you to delete Facebook, even logging out or moving the app from the home screen is enough to break the habit (and FB’s systems!). This helps us to go from accessing it every half hour or so to a few times a week. Interestingly this then seems to completely alter your experience when we do log back on…
Almost instantly we found that when we did log back on, gone were the annoying irrelevant news articles and most of the ads. Our ‘top stories’ were nearly always posts from close friends or local groups. But why have all the horror stories and annoying adverts disappeared? Have we triggered something with Facebook and we’re now ‘potential leavers’ so everything in our account gets pared back to the basics to try and retain us?
Alternatively, is everyone having the same experience and Facebook is desperately trying to rebrand? That would make sense with their recent grovelling adverts. ‘Lets all get back to what made Facebook good in the first place: friends. Because when this place does what it was built for, we all get a little closer.’
Either way, it doesn’t sound good for Facebook in its current form as more and more of us learn to live without it. If you’re thinking of getting rid of it or you know you’re going on it too much, try breaking the habit and see how you feel and see what happens to your user experience. Let us know how you get on.