My Facebook News Feed and me

A close friend and I were discussing distractions. The top distraction on her list was the Facebook feed. I thought I’d share my relationship with my Facebook News Feed.

Starting 1 April 2013, I just stopped looking at it.

There’s an increasing movement of people who debunk Facebook and say it adds no value. I am not one of them. Facebook has truly lived its mission to connect the world in my eyes. The engagement on the website is off the charts – 1 Billion people log in everyday. That is impressive. I think of the news feed as an addictive drug that people can’t seem to get enough of. Whether it is good or bad depends entirely on you.

When I asked myself how Facebook adds to my life, I found it to add value in 3 ways –
1. Serendipitous connections – There are SO many past neighbors and friends who I’m connected to via Facebook. I don’t know what’s happening in their lives. But, every once a while, I send or receive serendipitous messages. And, I find tremendous value in that.
2. The ALearningaDay page and shares – I share this blog’s post every day on the Facebook page and on my own profile. It is a simple action that has helped build engagement as that is where a lot of the interested audience sits.
3. Groups – this has been incredibly useful in graduate school.

My experience with the Facebook feed from 2 years ago was that it was only, at best, having a negative impact. This is probably less about the feed and more about me. In particular, there were 2 things that were going wrong –
1. If I ever liked a photo or update, I was inundated with notifications about others who did. I didn’t like that. I generally check notifications, respond to email and friend requests. So, the noise wasn’t helping.
2. I am given to competitiveness and envy. This is in my nature and I found that the news feed fed my demons. :-) I had worked very hard over the preceding years to stop focusing on others and just focus on competing against myself. At that point, I felt I was getting to that happy place and my Facebook feed seemed to derail that progress when I spent time on it. I used to get sucked into checking out what others were doing. All of this was wasted happiness and time.

So, I made a simple switch. I changed the bookmark on my browser to redirect to my own profile page as that is what I accessed to share this blog’s links.

URL

The app makes it tougher because I need to go to my notifications as soon as I click on it. I occasionally see a feed item or two. I almost never engage. It does mean missing out on congratulating many a friend about some achievement or big life event. But, I figure that if I only learn about people that matter via Facebook, there is something wrong. So, it is a trade off I’m comfortable with.

The aspiring product person within admires the engagement and sheer magnetism of that feed.

But, I’ve learnt that its not for me.

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