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June 25, 2017

The eerie silence of Facebook: Unfollow all

facebook unfollowed all accounts

I don’t have that many friends on my personal account on Facebook (I’m not talking about the page). Still, they are about 100-ish. People that write updates, that put links, photos and the likes. But I don’t see any of those. Yes, the screenshot above is how my personal account looks like. Sometimes there’s an ad there.

In September – October last year I unfollowed everyone on Facebook.

The reason? Well, every 2-3 minutes I would take the phone, open it using TouchID and press the leftmost icon on the third row from the top. Yeah, that was Facebook’s app icon. Then I’d pull the screen down to refresh. And lose myself for the next several minutes. It didn’t matter if I was talking to anybody: my parents, my girlfriend, my sister or, even worse, my niece. I just got lost in a black hole, all of a sudden.

At some point, though, this was happening so often that nothing would’ve changed on Facebook. I still did it. It was time to stop.

So I unfollowed everyone, as I was saying. I moved the app’s icon to another folder on the phone (I still need Facebook for access to business accounts, this is why I can’t delete my account, though I thought about it for a little while). Then I changed the icon in position 1 on row 3 with the Weather app icon.

And YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT :)

For the next week or so I could tell you exactly what the weather would be for the next 10 days. Yeah, you asked me and I was the weatherman. Because my habit was still there: pick up the phone, unlock it by TouchID and then open the app in that specific position on the screen. And it took several seconds for my brain to understand that I already know what the weather will be like.

So, yes, social media plays games with our brains.

Almost a year in, I don’t open Facebook that often and, even more important, I don’t pick up my phone as often as well.

I also love that when I meet with my friends I don’t really know what they’ve been up to so we need to talk about it and I’m genuinely surprised most of the times. I still talk on messenger with many of them, so I know the most important going-ons in the lives, but I don’t see random pics, I don’t see random links.

Another side effect is that I don’t write that many personal things on Facebook anymore. I do, from time to time, but my time in the app dropped dramatically. I still get some notifications, I use Facebook Pages a lot, so I still got on Facebook. I just have a much more clutter-free life.

Were my friends unhappy with this move on my side? Some. There are some that will find out now? Yes. Will it change the way I use the app? No. I enjoy my new found freedom :)

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Photo: my Facebook account at the beginning of a Sunday morning.

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