Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Don’t Let Facebook Make You Miserable (nytimes.com)
285 points by hvo on May 6, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 219 comments

Facebook doesn't make me miserable because I feel like I'm having less fun and being less glamorous than the friends on my news feed—it makes me miserable because it's an addicting timewaster with minimal utility and I'd much rather be [reading a book, playing music, writing software, hanging out with friends IRL, working on a project, sleeping, watching TV…]

I completely agree. I cut Facebook out of my life and got 2-3 hours a day of focus back, easily. It's actually made a huge difference, because now I have time to waste time, while still being high-energy and invested in all of the projects that are important to me.

But I also think that a lot of what has made me happier and calmer day-to-day is more to do with a change in attitude that came with dropping Facebook. Now I assume that I'll waste an hour a day dealing with random horseshit or unnecessary waiting; suddenly, missing the bus or forgetting my keys or standing behind someone who takes 10 minutes to order their lunch doesn't raise my blood pressure. It's just part of the hour.

There's no greater luxury than having time to waste.

"No greater luxury than having time to waste" that's awesome.

Wonderfully said , the benefits of getting Off the Facebook !!!


>missing the bus or

> forgetting my keys or

> standing behind someone who takes 10 minutes to order their lunch doesn't raise my blood pressure.

>There's no greater luxury than having time to waste.

I've noticed Facebook seems to be really good at spamming me with useless notifications, it even somehow manages to do it after I've unfriended 90% of the people that I am not close friends with and blocked most notification types. Yeah I could prune my friends list even further and only check it passively, but then all I'm stuck with is basically an incredibly bloated email/chat service that is loaded with ads. Then again this is the 21st century, a lot of other tech products seem to fit that exact description too. In any case, I'm a lot happier after deleting it.

Some time last year Facebook began giving me notifications within the application that... "Your friend uploaded a photo" or "your friend updated their status."

Maybe this is because I stopped using Facebook for so long, there weren't any real notifications to give me. They wanted it to seem like I'd missed something.

Biggest mistake I did with my Instagram account was to link it to my Facebook. I believe it is impossible to unlink them, even having disconnected all external application access as far as I could go in both.

Why? "Your friend Xxx is now on Instagram". Etc etc. I don't want to know, and I don't want my account visible to everyone there. Please just respect my wishes to make the integration go away!

I recently spent a week out of any mobile signal range and when I got back, I had email from FB (normally I don't get notifications by email, just in the app) for the most banal things like "Friend X has just uploaded a photo!". FB definitely enters panic mode if a regular user doesn't use it for a short while.

Yes, it does this when you stop using it, also it will spam you with "do you know person Foo?" messages. I guess is because they assume you stoped using it because your timeline was boring.

Source: I have the same experience.

I don't use Facebook that much, but I definitely used to associate a notification with something important, like being tagged in a status / photo or invited to an event. Since a year or two ago for me as well, it's usually useless or sometimes a straight-up advertisement. If you admin a group, you'll even get the "boost this post" messages as notifications.

I turned off all Facebook email notifications and I'm much happier with it now.

Can't you just disable notifications from the Facebook app? Android allows it, and I reckon iOS does too. I found this to be a nice solution to deal with obnoxious apps because you remove the annoyance but can still use them should the need arise.

Or uninstall the app, the mobile website works well and doesn't slurp your battery in the background.

Unfortunately you can't on most phones ... Facebook is a system app.

Can't those be "disabled" via the app manager? I'd flash a custom ROM if I had to deal with FB being a "system app"(!).

Not every phone can be rooted though :(

But yeah: The app can be disabled at least.

You can disable notifications, but on Samsung android you can't get rid of the red badges without disabling them for all apps.

I had the impression that it was a probing thing. Trying to figure out who in my friend list I'm interested in keeping up with. Annoying enough that I decided to uninstall the app.

This might be something to do with effect of not winning every time: it's studied method to get and keep us addicted. You will get a bigger dopamine hit when only some of notifications are "wins" like tagged photo etc. Slot machines are a great example of this along with other gambling.

This. It used to be closer to the former, but today it seems like all my "friends" are just raging about the latest ragefest. I am not envious of being overtaken by these emotions. :-)

That's actually why I deleted my account. The constant anger about everything was just unnecessary in my life.

This comment thread hits the nail on the head for why I deactivated my social media.

But I haven't found a good alternative "productive" time waster for when my mind needs a short break.

> But I haven't found a good alternative "productive" time waster for when my mind needs a short break.

Hacker News? I mean, you posted this right here!

I spend more time on HN than on FB by a fair margin now. I probably need to start reigning it in... :P

Luckily, HN has a handy no-proscrastination feature! :)

Tell me more about this!

Copied & pasted from an old HN post:

There are three new fields in your profile, noprocrast, maxvisit, and minaway. (You can edit your profile by clicking on your username.) Noprocrast is turned off by default. If you turn it on by setting it to "yes," you'll only be allowed to visit the site for maxvisit minutes at a time, with gaps of minaway minutes in between. The defaults are 20 and 180, which would let you view the site for 20 minutes at a time, and then not allow you back in for 3 hours. You can override noprocrast if you want, in which case your visit clock starts over at zero.

I force myself to bounce between reading a book and working, the computer is mostly a tool to get work done / research things quickly now for me. It's super boring in the immediate but rewarding once you put the work in which is a stark contrast to constantly coding -> compiling and filling up that instant gratification meter.

I like to waste time on YouTube and Wikipedia. They're good idle browsing for autodidacts.

TIL I'm an autodidact and that I have a very similar tastes to nihonde :P

What's your process for finding good autodidactical content on YouTube? (I am building something very related to this space; I'm super curious about people's "workflows" for this.)

How to (whatever)

Works for me :-)

"When my mind needs a short break" sounds like you should give meditation a shot.

Yea, but for a lot of people who are just starting to get better at practicing mindfulness, it's not a 100% solution yet and you end up doing things like FB anyway, just more rarely. (I know that was the case for me at least)

I actually hadn't heard the term mindfulness. I think meditation is something I'll need to give a serious try with that in mind. I can see the possible benefits.

You're right on the latter part. But as of late I've gone to the extreme and deactivated all but Snapchat for social media. As well as using Cold Turkey and editing my hosts file's to keep me away from certain sites.

It's hacker news for me.

A nice book!

Agreed, I try to only use Facebook to chat with friends. The news feed is designed to be addictive, so I decided to create a simple Chrome extension that lets you blank out posts: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/private-party/obji...

I feel the same way so I built a Chrome extension that replaces the News Feed with a todo list [1].

If I complete all my todos I get to use News Feed for 5 minutes.

I had tried blocking fb entirely a few times but I always churned and unblocked it... So I thought instead maybe if I could redirect myself to a productive task any time I tried to use News Feed, the most addicting/distracting part of the site for me, that might help. (it has and I love it!)

[1] Todobook: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/todobook/ihbejplhk...

But does it work in incognito ??

I too found Facebook addictive for a while, but once I came to the same conclusion as yourself (that it's a waste of time), my mind seems to have conditioned itself to abhor the entire Facebook experience. The fact that the app is rather buggy helped rid me of my addiction even quicker. Now I occasionally use Facebook as a research tool before or after I meet someone - it's great for the occasional snoop, but I no longer class it as fun, entertaining or even addictive tbh.

But how much of this is really Facebook's fault? How wouldn't you before be, say, watching TV or listening to radio soaps in the pre-internet era instead of doing the "higher mind" things you list you'd rather be doing?

Before Facebook I recall that chat apps like AIM and MSN messenger were fairly popular. I actually found those useful, and could have fairly meaningful conversations on them. Even if I hadn't seen a person in years, I might have an ongoing and strong online friendship with them. On Facebook, though, this never seemed to happen and many old acquaintances started to feel like complete strangers.

I also recall that things like e-mail from friends was a lot more common. You know the type - you hadn't heard from someone in a few months and they send you a long e-mail just checking in and telling you about their life. And people would respond to you if you sent the same. A few years ago I stopped sending those types of e-mail out because people stopped responding to them. These days, it would be a genuine shock to get a "just checking in" e-mail from friends.

I feel like Facebook has encouraged connections to be vapid and shallow. As a result, I feel like I have far less meaningful connections with friends now than I had a decade ago.

Not sure anybody need care whose "fault" it is; the most empowering viewpoint is to assume it's always your own. (Which optimistically implies that you can change it, since you're the one doing it.) But as for Facebook being a similar timesuck to TV or radio back in the day, it definitely is. The parallels are many, not least of which are similar ubiquity, similar motivations (to show you advertising), and similar gimmicks to keep your attention even when you might otherwise - god forbid - get the idea to go do something else.

It doesn't matter whose fault it is. It isnt the chocolate chip cookies' or ice cream's fault people are fat but that doesn't mean we should treat them like best friends and keep them in the fridge

Next time you use Facebook, pay attention to how much time you spend scrolling past videos or images (including images for link previews). That time is partially Facebook's fault because (instead of just showing every post to every friend) they preferentially show images and videos. They also render short text posts with a larger font, optionally with a big gradient background. The actual information density of a Facebook feed is surprisingly low.

It makes me miserable because I see people spouting ignorant nonsense as if from authority. It shows me the effect media has on my aging family members. It shows me bigotry in friends I had thought better of. And it appears to be accelerating.

Facebook is a severely flawed product, as flawed as windows 2000, with a similar level of popularity with the unwashed masses. I wonder what its inevitable replacements form will take shape as.

I thought Windows 2000 was the peak of windows (anyways, it was my favorite version).

No, NT 3.51 was the pinnacle of Windows. After that they decided to move the graphics drivers into kernel space and it was all downhill from there.

Facebooks your current fixation for your procrastination, but if it wasn't facebook, I'd venture to guess it would most likely be something else that is an addicting timewaster with minimal utility because that's the exactly the kind of thing we seek out when we want to get away from things we think are more important.

For you, facebook. For me -- videogames, particularly online competitive style. For someone else? Bingewatching brainless television on Netflix.

TBH though, I can't think of many things less fulfilling than wasting time on Facebook. The adrenaline from winning an online game, a show or film that makes you think or gives you a new perspective... then there's the Facebook feed.

I mean this in no offense, but you might be disillusioned or biased towards your particular vice. It's like an alcoholic telling me "well at least I am not doing heroin. Beer at least cleans out your kidneys!"

I struggled from video game addiction, and continue to struggle (it takes a lot of mental energy for me to simply not play). I used to tell myself, "well at least I am playing online and interacting with real people" or "at least I am sharpening my reflexes!"

This is also the case with other social networking sites and apps. If there wasn't a business need to use it, it's the exact reason I'd have for dropping Twitter.

The irony, of course, is that it was branded a social-utility.

Anything but.

Would you say like... Hacker News?

Perhaps we should take NYTimes advice a step further and stop letting them make us miserable either. There is nothing actionable in the news; next to no utility. News is simply a time sink that depress your spirit. Whenever I think of reading "legitimate" news like the NYTimes, I am reminded of this quote from a Soviet novel by Bulgakov. In it a doctor gives advice:

    If you care about your digestion, my advice is [sic]
    never read soviet newspapers before dinner.[1]
Over the past few years, motivated by the above quote and other reasoning, I taken a few experimental fasts from the news. During those weeks I found myself at no disadvantage that I could detect, but I did feel better and more productive.

[1] https://medium.com/@antonkovalyov/never-read-soviet-newspape...

I like reading the newspaper -- print, rather than online -- specifically because it comes out only once a day. It's not an endless stream of pretend-immediate attention-grabbers, but a curated collection of the important stuff that happened yesterday.

If the print newspaper were invented today, it would grab hundreds of millions of VC money in Silicon Valley as the cure for news overload. (I guess the pitch would have to include some silly AI or IoT angle though.)

You could replace the AI bit with 'reporters' who are trained to collate and edit the news, in order to give it a human touch.

>I like reading the newspaper -- print, rather than online -- specifically because it comes out only once a day. It's not an endless stream of pretend-immediate attention-grabbers, but a curated collection of the important stuff that happened yesterday.

If that was true, newspapers would have variable length. But they don't.

They fill in the same BS arbitrary number of pages day-in, day-out.

Edit: Downvoting as if this isn't self-evident?

Newspapers do vary the number of pages on a daily basis, so I don't really know what you mean.

(If they were set to a fixed number of pages, they wouldn't have the flexibility to sell more ads when there's a busy occasion such as an election...)

>Newspapers do vary the number of pages on a daily basis

That have quotas that they fill day-in, day-out, and they add some additional pages based on special occasions (elections, some huge crime, attack, holidays, and such). But they will never give you e.g. a 12 page newspaper even if there is nothing happening. They'll use any BS story to fill pages.

I read an app that updates once a day with 6 short news items. Takes less than 5 minutes to read when I'm on the pot and I'm done with news for the rest of the day. Works pretty well, I don't think I'm less informed than other people I interact with.

I use the teletext service for that, around 18 items per day. Titles have 34 characters max, body max 100 words. http://nos.nl/teletekst#101 Radio news takes 5 minutes, and 1.5 speed television news takes 10 minutes. I prioritize local news. It would be nice if you could have such a format for social 'news', twitter comes to mind, but few use it that way - a few newsworthy oneliners a day.

Economist Espresso?


There is a social advantage to being able to speak about current events.

There is also a part of the news that a well-informed citizen should know about. There are things everyone can do about injustice that require us to know injustice took place. Sadly, the above part of the news isn't the focus off modern news media. The sensationalist spin doesn't help much either.

What I'm trying to say is that news, in and of itself can be good, necessary even. The question is whether current forms of news do this well enough, and what other harm their sensationalism does.

Most news doesn't actually inform us in any meaningful way though.

Here in the U.K. the last three weeks have been endless repetition of media managed slogans and photo opportunities.

There are very real injustices happening in the world - in Syria and in Chechnya for instance - but they're routinely ignored unless you really go looking for them.

Resonates with me, living in Spain and listening to BBC news for the past 12 months wondering if anything actually happens in the UK aside from a handful of headline events?

Seems like anything that does get reported is merely an opportunity to spin the narrative towards their ideological agenda?

> There are very real injustices happening in the world - in Syria and in Chechnya for instance - but they're routinely ignored unless you really go looking for them.

How can you say they're ignored while admitting that you can find reporting on them if you look?

I find it ironic that people complain about the quality of mass media while simultaneously swallowing mass media's definition of what is and isn't important.

If you hate mass media, then you are a person who doesn't need to be spoon-fed news, right?

Of course this notion flies in the face of our dear leader, who hates CNN but watches it religiously. He seems to have convinced every far right person to do the same.

It takes very little reading to stay far more informed than the average person on current events if you set out to have that as your goal rather than just casually consuming information.

As for being a well informed citizen acting against injustice, I'd say there's a similar situation in that someone need not be very well read to find far more injustice than they're capable of acting on.

We live in a time of excess information yet have societal values that have developed throughout history when information was scarce. Passion, motivation, discipline and ethical principles are the things holding people back from being active, caring citizens of the planet not lack of information.

I've also stopped watching news as regularly as I once did. What I'm doing instead is reading a weekly news magazine, so I still get all the news, but minus the "Breaking News" breathlessness and plus deeper analyses.

I'm the same. I've cut the news out of my life and I feel much better. Ignorance is bliss.

Humans aren't designed to cope with the whole world's problems.

I've sometimes suggested to people that if they want to stay informed, just read the news from 6 months ago. It's easier to see what's important and what's just noise when you have a bit of breathing room.

Practically, how do you go about that? Dig up old newspapers? Wayback machine?

Yeah, you could use the Wayback Machine to check headlines from the past. Though it's not really a practical way to go about things. One thing you could try is to ask yourself if you would be reading an article like this from 6-12 months ago if you came across it today.

For example, would you want to sit down now and read an analysis from September 2016 about who is most likely going to win the U.S. presidential election? No? Then similar pieces (trying to predict elections in 2018, 2020, etc.) are probably not terribly important to you. Would you read a piece from September 2016 about infrastructure issues in the U.S.? Yes? Then that's probably the type of article with more value.

Another would be to wait a few weeks before reading much about breaking news. Some years ago I read the paper daily, and it's interesting how many articles about the major stories are 80-90% the same from day to day with slight updates with the latest information. Better to wait and get the whole story than to get a slow trickle of news with endless rehashes of what you've already been told.

Periodicals that are less interested in breaking news and more interested in long-term stories are good in this regard.

I cut facebook out of my life three momths ago when I realized a pattern of my activities. Something hapened and I ranted there about my thoughts, others were offended ao they commented & we would fight not understanding each other.

Then I used to ignore them and continue.

Then one fine day, I sat on a bus, there was something going on about Kashmir and Indian military and I found that the guy next to me was also posting in a heated discussoon.

It was there that I figured out we are wasting time, we think our opinions matter, but they don't. Fb is just a waste of time. Of course, if you use it to stay in touch with frnds then it's a great tool, but there are other tools for that, if you can't get your friends on something say telegram's secret chat or signal (i hear it is peivacy focused) then it's a tragedy.

I have been living peacefully without fb/whatsapp.

Life is amazing when you realize the crazy volume of time we spend on whatsapp & the return on that time is nothing. We are superficially in touch with people

Been free of Facebook for more than 3 years. There's never been a single moment where I felt I was missing out. Even the staying in touch - for those that matter we found other ways to stay connected.

The final straw for me was actually a girl from my elementary school who wanted to friend me. The chat went like this...

Me: I have to ask you something. So we haven't seen each other for decades, the last time being when we were 7 year olds. Back then we probably exchanged less than 100 words. I don't mean to be rude but I'm genuinely curious to know why you want to connect with me?

Her: Oh I'm sorry. Didn't mean to offend

And that was it. She didn't have a reason other than "just because". That was when it really clicked for me what an utter waste of time Facebook actually is.

Never looked back

Sorry, that was a pretty mean response. Maybe she scoped you out and thought you were cute? Maybe she's just trying to make new friends and remembered you being nice? Why wouldn't she just say that to you? (instead of sorry, didn't mean to offend)? Probably because your response made her go "oh crap, this guy is an a-hole - bail) That's exactly what my response would be.

Or maybe Facebook's "Add Friend" feature suggested GP to the girl.

Honestly that's de facto a pretty dick move, despite whatever might make sense in an ideal world

A pretty dick move on her part for wanting to be included in a complete strangers personal circle?

I think that questioning the motive was justified.

>A pretty dick move on her part for wanting to be included in a complete strangers personal circle?

No, a pretty dick move to piss on her for asking to reconnect with an old schoolmate with a rude response.

FB is not some "personal circle". People connect to wide circles of accountancies they barely meet once in a decade and old schoolmates from way beyond and such all the time. And if one doesn't, it's still perfectly fine, given the widespread practice, for others to assume that it's ok for them to ask.

No other motive needed other than we're all humans, and we tend to think of people that passed through our lives in some way or another, and might want to occasionally catch up and/or share some old-time story.

No further need to "question the motive" (as if she's some huge scammer) than to question "high school reunions".

In the end, one could just ignore the request, or reply politely ("Sorry, I only add close friends and relatives on FB").

Could not have said it better myself.

To me, simply asking the question seems a bit 'off'. I mean, what do you mean 'final straw'? It bothers you that someone has some mild curiosity about what you've been up to? I probably wouldn't respond to that either. Sometimes you're just curious what that kid in your ____ grade class that you never really spoke to is up to. For whatever reason. I just assume that if they are the 'Facebook is only for close friends' type, then they will simply not accept the request. No big deal. I accept requests from people I don't necessarily know that well, but share some kind of background with (went to school together, used to be coworkers, etc.). I also know people who don't, and that's totally fine too. But they don't get offended by getting requests from people they don't necessarily know that well.

There's nothing nefarious about it. If I got your question, I'd be torn between just saying "just curious what you have been up to for ____ years, that's all," and her response, because the question in and of itself seems kind of unusual.

>And that was it. She didn't have a reason other than "just because"

It's not like you need to have some huge reason to want to connect to some people on FB. It's not about being some big taskforce or goal-oriented group of connection.

Sometimes you just lookup people that were in you life to catch up, and see what they're up to. Or to make sense of what your life was, and the people that might have influenced it, or took part in it.

As I wrote elsewhere here, I don't think FB is any real platform to affect change or share opinions (it's at best an echo chamber, at worst nobody cares).

But for casual chat, it doesn't hurt to add some "girl from elementary" school or random acquaintance in your Friends list. It's not like they have to justify their presence in utility. One can just ignore their posts.

I agree that there are ways to stay connected with the ones who 'matter'. However to me, there are many people who 'don't matter', yet with whom I'd like to stay in touch. In other words, I see three types of relations instead of 2. And for this type of inbetween 'people who matter' and 'people who I generally know but whom I don't want to meet', I am not willing to pay the extra effort of maintaining the connection without facebook.

Maybe she had a little crush on you at the time, so her memory of you holds more weight in her mind than your memory of her does in yours.

>It was there that I figured out we are wasting time, we think our opinions matter, but they don't. Fb is just a waste of time.

Yeah, even more so: if we spent the same time/energy in becoming better at something else (studying, writing, etc), we could actually acquire more influential voices that actually matter a little more (or a lot more).

If some world news subject REALLY matters to us, for example, instead of commenting on FB, we could study it thoroughly, read books about it, start writing an opinion column on some media outlet, participate in some group that affects change, write a book on the matter, shoot a documentary, write some software or web service that helps the people with that issue, etc.

And then we have a real voice and affect some smaller or bigger, but real change.

Not some BS post we posted to 2000 friends on FB, of which 300 automatically clicked like and 10 actually read, of which we engaging in a flame war with 3.

And if the subject doesn't REALLY matter to us? Well, then the world might be better off without our uniformed comment or "just repeated what I was told from the news outlets I read" rehash.

Except the problem doesn't seem to be the technology, just the way you were using it. You engaged in behavior there you don't engage in in real life (for pretty much the same reasons we don't do it in real life).

The problem with the internet and social media is a lot of people not realizing they aren't that different to real life, and have been getting less and less different.

Oh no, I engaged in the same way. I have opinions & I share rhem with friends. To be honest, I have stopped doing that too, any kind of social network is a time sink, including HN, reddit. Of course they are immensely helpful, but not if you are addicted to them.

Two yrs after cutting fb/whatsapp I am writing a sci fi novel, on the 80'th page!

Ditto to the ditto to the dit-tt-o.

Down vote me all anyone likes for this inane I have to totally agree with this absolute truth.

Whatsapp is useful, if you manage to stay out of groups. I quit most groups, except two which are very low frequency. And Whatsapp is useful for me now.

Edit: And I am (proudly) Facebook free, for over 1.5 years now.

As my Facebook cohort aged up into their mid-20s, my feed is all baby photos and overchurned memes that have been re-shared across 5 different sites, interspersed with relentless posts from artists I forgot I liked long ago, and ads that are trying hard to be local. Its utility is increasingly not defined by the Feed, but by being a contact list of Everyone You Ever Met Who You Don't Want To Unfriend, which has some uses for communication, warding off the most superficial kind of loneliness, and when someone is giving away spare goods a la Craigslist.

Most of the visually enticing bragging has moved onto Instagram, where the content is front-and-center and all about the number of hearts, imitating the style of celebrity influencers: beach scene with brand cocktail, friends taking a multi-selfie at an event, etc.

Conversely, my Snapchat is full of relatively mundane stuff: morning selfies with makeup on point, silly antics at a party, funny faces and filters.

To me, Instagram is actually the most frustrating, as it's the one that amplifies discrepancies between the popularity of your friends the most. For those of your real life friends who attract a lot of likes, it makes you feel like an increasingly irrelevant fan of a rising celebrity; while those who get very little validation are attract solely the sympathy heart, and often get deleted at the end of the day, leaving both the poster and you dissatisfied.

For these reasons, Instagram is a bad fit for people who are self-conscious about their relative lack of popularity, which is -- let's face it -- quite a few people. On the other hand, it's a great fit for people who, for whatever reason, can get plenty of likes from strangers and friends alike: no wonder it's the favored platform for social media influencers and their sponsors.

I rarely post on Facebook any more. Finding something agreeable to all my friends and family and still being authentic to myself is hard, and a losing game.

Instagram can be made into something that is not just a mirror of your Facebook. If there's little difference between the two, you end up with the same problems - FOMO, envy, self-loathing. Instead, if you follow artists/photographers/creatives, you can find an interesting, beautiful world. Of course, there's a tension here. The more popular someone is, the more likely their feed is to devolve into brand endorsements. That commercial force corrupts.

So while its possible for instagram to be less superficial that Facebook, its a constant battle.

> I rarely post on Facebook any more. Finding something agreeable to all my friends and family and still being authentic to myself is hard, and a losing game.

This is my primary issue with Facebook and one of the reasons I stopped using it. It's fine while you have a tight social circle, but once you have several social circles on Facebook, it's very difficult to navigate those kinds of tastes, whereas in real life it's never really an issue because the people never meet.

As another poster said, Facebook is most useful as a collection of contacts, but that usefulness is constantly at war with being able to express yourself.

I've never used FB but I did use Google+ for a while, not really for the social aspects but instead to join Android app betas, this was before Google moved the beta signups to the Play Store, and I always found the way G+ allowed you to define different circles to be a very nice feature.

I know G+ gets a lot of hate but the circles aspect seemed well implemented and made compartmentalizing your different social/professional circles much easier and more transparent. I wonder why FB doesn't allow something similar?

I've been tempted to join FB in the past, not to partake in the social activities, but as a tool to manage my contacts, but I'm incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of my different social groups and my professional contacts sharing the same connections to me. If I could completely separate different circles to ensure they have absolutely no overlap or ability to see my other connections I would probably use FB.

Facebook does actually allow something similar, at least I have seen some actual (offline) Facebook ads in Europe that described your exact problem and introduced the possibility to share only with "close friends" or "family".

Yeah. I think I really stopped using Facebook when it decided to tell all of my contacts the things I was saying in a particular Facebook group. Thankfully it was something that was fairly non-controversial, but the complete lack of respect for privacy was stunning.

We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact.

And we're very, very apathetic.

Interesting take on Instagram. I'm mid-20's and I find that I don't care at all how many likes I get on Instagram, I'm much more concerned with likes on Facebook. This is one reason I prefer Instagram. As most posts are by 'celebrities' rather than my actual friends I don't feel jealousy or other negative emotions when I see cool photos. I don't pay much attention to likes on Instagram at all actually. I've recently made the decision to delete Facebook from my phone. I find my main use of Facebook is photo sharing and I can do that through Instagram (and those can be sent to Facebook/Twitter automatically without me having to pay attention to those platforms too much). I haven't been doing this long but I've found a noticeable improvement in my happiness. I can't remember the last time I saw something really negative on Instagram, whereas on Facebook every public post is littered with horrible comments. Maybe that's it.

You might not care about likes, but others do. As I said in my other post, people judge you and label you on how many likes/followers you get.

Instagram is really toxic.

>> people judge you and label you on how many likes/followers you get

I would argue that they don't - you only think they do, and that's the real issue. Not judging as I've been in that mindset myself. I'm a pretty self-concious person but I truly don't think people our age care about likes. You mentioned being mid-20's which I also mentioned in my post in case this issue came up. I understand that children and teenagers care about likes (and I've seen articles with evidence to back that up) but I think by our age that's gone (or didn't ever really exist that strongly as we were too old by the time social media went super mainstream).

Edit: Thought you were the parent who mentioned they were mid-20's, just realised you are not the parent. Curious what age you are (roughly even, if you don't mind) as I think that has a lot of bearing on this conversation.

Fully agreed about Instagram. I made an Instagram account 2 years ago and I mostly followed musicians that I like and some photographers and I actually enjoyed Instagram.

Intsagram was a nice tool to see cool pictures and keep in touch with artists. It was like a hi-res Tumblr without the drama and the crap of Tumblr. Then I decided to start uploading photos and follow people in know in real life and that was the biggest mistake I did.

In addition to what you said, Instagram is really toxic. Because I followed lot's of people, my following/followers ratio was something like 350/80. I heard some people talk about how sad it is that I only have 80 followers. One time I followed someone I know and she didn't follow back, and I when I asked her why she didn't follow back, she said that she didn't know it was me (I didn't use my real name) and she thought I was some random ass loser because I didn't have many followers.

I later realized that in real life, people judge you based on how many likes you get and how many followers you have. It's now about the content, it's about how popular you are. If you don't get likes and followers you are seen as a loser/not cool.

That's what made me delete my Instagram account. Not to mention how shitty the app is when it comes to battery life. People complain about the FB app being shit, but IG is not that much better. It consumes a lot of battery life and has so many irregular activities and runs a lot in the background.

I must say.... I remain on Facebook to watch my far-away friends get married and start families. It brings me small joy :)

Outside of Silicon Valley, people are marginally bewildered when you tell them you don't have Facebook. Inside Silicon Valley you'll quite often run into someone that works at Facebook and they'll switch to a psych analysis algorithm to understand how their service is not catering to you, while trying to mask their offense.

It must be good because of the daily active user number! Yeah well Tobacco has a high DAU too.

I remember a professor who equated smartphone use with smoking, he told people to go outside with the smokers if they wanted to use their smartphones/Facebook.

I once saw those behaviours described as "idle animations"(on Reddit of all places).

I once made a recommendation of "people checking their smart phone" to add as an idle animation for a Facebook game I was working on once. So makes sense to me!

Gosh I'd love to talk to this psychoanalyst. I can say as a non-adopter of Facebook (and before that MySpace) from the beginning (despite some immense social pressure) it has simply always been about "privacy" and the desire to stay out of touch.

Not that I'm actually very great at staying private online. It started as avoidance of other people and now I avoid it simply because it's just another data silo to me. I already give Google my life story, why add Facebook?

So. How can Facebook give me what I most want now from the platform? The ability to both stay in touch and stay invisible -- seems improbable.

I liked Facebook early on when it was set up in a way that was pretty easy to customize (even with plug-ins). It felt easier than creating a custom web page — even as someone with the skills to do so — and it was more likely to actually be seen by people that I knew.

Then they started compartmentalizing everything. After awhile, if you wanted to mention something that didn’t have a field in their form, there wasn’t really anywhere to put that. All the plug-ins went away.

Then I started to realize that if I learned too much about things by reading a feed, I had no idea what to talk about in person because I already “knew” everything. Ironically a social platform was making real social behavior more difficult.

Eventually though, knowing things was not exactly beneficial because it was like dirty laundry. Paragraphs and paragraphs of stuff that I didn’t want to see. Oh, great: didn’t know that co-worker was actually super-religious and was going to start posting every possible religious thing that crossed his inbox [hide]. Oh, great: friends that go to the same places every single weekend and post the same maps of those places and the same pictures every single time [hide]. Oh, great: pages of the latest political diatribes [hide]. Oh, great: 50 things I have already seen on Reddit [hide]. These days if I do log in, I can scroll for quite awhile and see nothing interesting at all, even after being gone from Facebook for a week.

That means it’s become a glorified address book, which is kind of where we started and perhaps where we should have always remained. What is the multi-billion-dollar “value” of Facebook now?

Don't you find that when you meet people in real life, they then refer to something on their or your Facebook feed?

Sometime ago, I put up a music video and yesterday I was chatting with a friend who had seen it.

The biggest mistake (or genius move, depending on how you look at it), IMO that Facebook made is to show you cards in your feed about what your friends liked or commented on or when a totally random person says something about your friend. You don't know any of the parties involved in this but somehow are being shoved a photo, a video, or something else about them.

Obviously this is the addictive part for a large number of people, an endless stream of crap to keep looking at. Had the exact opposite effect on me. It finally drove me away from Facebook. I just realized my feed was utterly useless at that point.

I'm not sure where I read this suggestion, but a couple of months ago I unfollowed everyone on FB. Now my newsfeed is basically empty - and my Facebook experience is much improved.

I highly recommend it.

I did that before as well. Then Facebook re-followed most of my list. I then manually unfollowed them again, and slowly every day posts pop up and people get re-followed. Fuck Facebook.

I also noticed that behavior with my account. I would unfollow all my friends, so my news feed was only posts of the pages I liked. After a couple of days, posts of my friends would start creeping up again in the news feed.

That was when I decided to deactivate my account, and it's been the best thing so far. The account deactivation form is scary, Facebook practically begs for you to stay. I don't miss it at all.


This works pretty well for me (though only on desktop, unfortunately).

Second this, it gets rid of the most toxic/addictive part of facebook (the feed) and leaves all the good stuff. Great extension!

What is your Facebook experience now? Just Messenger?

I did the same thing. Still have Messenger, but without push notifications.

It works beautifully. The immediate FOMO fades quickly.

Nothing of value is lost. Real friends and important info finds a way to get through.

> Nothing of value is lost. Real friends and important info finds a way to get through.

I've also found this to be true.

This is my Facebook experience.

I didn't unfollow everyone like the grandparent, but I have no desire to go to the main sight. I, however, use messenger constantly (via messenger.com) because it's a unified service that all my friends are on. I've been pretty satisfied with it, but Facebook keeps adding more and more features that I have no interest in and clutter the UI.

Just Messenger, Events when I'm invited to them, occasionally being tagged in a post, and a couple of groups.

I just rarely use it. I somewhat maintain it a couple times a year, maybe go on once a month or every other month to clear out messages and maybe poke around a few friends profiles. Dont think ive ever posted a status or post or anything. But im just a little anti-social by nature so guess thats why :D.

I did this a few years ago and haven't looked back.

I had the issue where I was suddenly following everyone again on one occasion (years ago), but since I've unfollowed everyone again, I haven't had any issues.

Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator performs a similar function, but with inspirational quotes!

I did the same and came to the comments section to recommend as well.

Interesting idea!

I have to say, I am glad no one in my social group cared when I left Facebook. We still talk and hang out.

That said, I did not have any "miserable" problems with Facebook because I removed everyone from my wall except close friends and family, essentially making Facebook just Messenger. Maybe Facebook changed the rules by now or something, but I recommend to ruthlessly unfollow people you don't care for but might want to be able to talk to one day.

Agreed. I took it to another level... and deleted my Facebook account. If I need to be social I have a cell phone.

Me too, and it was simultaneously the best thing I ever did, and also "meh". For one, very few people cared that I left Facebook, and those who did were fortunately the ones who actually cared about me. Also, I expected it to be this big, life-changing, zen-inducing move, but turns out, I replaced FB with Reddit, HN and youtube.

On the other hand, every so often, whenever I come across other people's Facebook wall, I realise that I'm not really missing out on people sharing their life, but instead, on looking at long pages of the loud, angry venting, and I realise that, at some point over the past four years, I went from missing facebook to realising that I'd built up too much mental resistance against it to ever put myself through opening an account ever again. That, plus the feel-good factor I get from being "more privacy conscious".

Facebook makes me miserable because it has become the defacto medium for social communication. When decent alternatives arrive offering end to end encryption, Facebook goes and buys them.

Say what you will, but WhatsApp/Messenger usage statistics correlated with Facebook usage statistics of less privacy conscious contacts can still paint a pretty damn good picture (read marketing profile).

You literally can't use any popular (digital) communication methods without opening yourself to advertisers or those wanting to buy an election. It's a minor miracle we still have email.

>You literally can't use any popular (digital) communication methods without opening yourself to advertisers...

I use uBlock origin for general stuff and FB Purity for Facebook (laptop use). I see roughly zero ads. I donated a bit to the FB Purity guy - It was a noticeable improvement to my life.

Any of those services for shipping you binary blobs with no open source code. None of them were trustworthy.

I don't get it, where is the misery? Are people really so fragile that they get upset seeing some old classmate in a luxury car?

I put off creating a Facebook account for a long time but eventually gave in. And I was pleasantly surprised to find how well it works for sharing photo albums with my friends and family.

While maybe not misery, I was certainly drawn into a stressful state of mind. I didn't get upset about about a luxury car or anything material, but demonstrations of copious free time did eat at me.

My schedule was completely full with kids, lots of work, and little down time for hobbies or relaxation. But I got into the groove and was reasonably content. Enter Facebook's feed with endless updates from friends on vacations, attending conferences, exotic work travel etc., and suddenly I start viewing my own lot in a shitty light. My rational assessment was that things were fine, but I just didn't feel very good about it. I quit FB cold turkey and within probably a month these feelings evaporated.

I don't think fragile is a good description. I think it's simply reacting. If the shared family photos you mentioned started having a lot of stuff that you didn't like, you'd probably choose to avoid it.

I don't get it, where is the misery? Are people really so fragile that they get upset seeing some old classmate in a luxury car?

I don't think it's any particular, discrete thing like that in itself, but rather the accumulated impact of the social media heuristic described over a period of years.

For a more extreme example, look at LinkedIn. Judging by the posts, one can easily be led to believe that all of one's connections are super-successful but utterly brainwashed corporate droids. It's a warped and misleading portrayal of human reality (for most of them, anyway—there are always those few that really do drink the Kool Aid that much). But it's naturally going to lead a lot of people to the anxiety: should I be as invested in my work as these amped-up salespeople? Am I working hard enough to promote my professional brand?

"Are people really so fragile"

Yes, people are generally fragile.

It's interesting how the vast majority of responses to this post are from people who have either left facebook entirely, or severely crippled it.

Are the majority of HN folks off facebook, or is it just the vocal ones?

I don't think it's necessary to be off it, but I do believe it's necessary to be intentional how you use it and aware of how it impacts you. For my own part, I don't share updates about my life anymore and I now ignore updates from my close friends. This came after the realization that Facebook had become a substitute for small talk when we'd meet up. "How've you been?" and "What've you been up to?" started feeling like unnecessary questions when we already knew the answers. But what took longer for me to realize is that that kind of small talk was a lead in to deeper, more meaningful conversations. And when we stopped going through small talk exercise, we didn't get to those more important conversations nearly as often and it impacted how connected I felt with friends. Since that realization, I've started being intentional with how I use Facebook to avoid the sharing of those seemingly insignificant details between me and my friends and my relationships have all improved.

And that's what I see as Facebook's biggest problem. Humans are complex animals that have complex interaction patterns. Facebook is, for better or for worse, altering those patterns, and not always for the better. We need to be very aware of what we're losing when we choose to let Facebook do that to us.

I posted a poll to Facebook asking how many of my friends had deleted Facebook; apparently not a single person has deleted it.

Probably just vocal ones - I still use it, but I have a pretty healthy relationship with it, and the internet in general from having had to keep away from it while in Marine Corps training, and actively challenging myself to refrain from logging in for a period of time as an exercise in self-control.

I will casually browse it now and then to keep up with how friends are doing. I pay attention to some FB groups and post there sometimes, but they are groups on things I am interested in. I'll post one update every few days so people know what's going on in my world. Most of my time with FB is spent on Messenger though, as friends and I chat and organize get togethers there. FB is really convenient in this regard since there's less friction with being FB friends than there is with asking for someone's number.

I don't worry about having to always check the internet though - if I'm busy doing something, the internet can wait.

I use it and really like it to share photography and keep in touch, but I think its degraded a lot recently.

So many people share articles that they've never read, they're really just sharing a headline. Or post from useless meme pages (I can go to reddit or something for that). So I have hidden almost every article source ("Hide all from Buzzfeed/NYT/science memes page" etc)

All I want to see are people's mundane life updates and baby photos, personal projects, and other "lives of my friends" things. I love that facebook is an open letter system to your friends, I just wish more people would use it that way.

I wish there was an easier way to block out "external" content, I'm really, really not interested in re-shares of clickbait from newspapers and other sources, or the inevitably political outrage and bullshit that people share.

I just want the unique thoughts and photos of my Facebook friends to see what's going on in their lives.

I haven't actually deleted my Facebook account, but haven't used it in years.

I never made a conscious decision to stop using it. I got really annoyed by Facebook emails and phone notifications, so I created a filter for Facebook email, and turned off notifications. Once it stopped constantly bugging me to look at it, I kind of just lost interest. At some point, I just realized I hadn't logged in in a long time, and noticed that I didn't miss it at all.

I quit FB because I wasn't comfortable with the company knowing as much about my network and online behavior as they do about all of their users. I'd suppose the more technical you are, the more this is likely to bother you, but that might be my own confirmation bias.

The peace of mind that came with stepping away from the constant barrage of useless information that I couldn't ignore or make go away to b/c it came from 'friends' was an added bonus.

Now several years later I created a FB account using a false last name and use it only for real-world groups I belong to that rely on FB groups/events features (athletic groups, my CSA, etc). My profile explains that "I only use FB for groups. But we can be friends in real life."

I've only ever used Facebook on one occasions: For a brief time after they opened it up for non edu accounts, at that point it was more or less identical to a German alternative, so there was no good reason to use it because none of my friends were there. I think that account might still be around but is tied to an email address I stopped using soon after. I kind of expected it to remain something used only by college kids and Highschool students, because it facilitates the kind of superficial, gossipy interactions that immature people tend to like.

Different people are trying to get different things from Facebook. I use facebook but disable notifications and unliked all pages/companies. Crippling the annoying parts to them allows people to have their Facebook cake and eat it too. Without being bothered by stupid notifications mid bite.

I deleted my account around 2010 or so, but started again to help friends with social media marketing and apps. FB pretty quickly resurfaced all the old connections and now it's back to where it was before... annoying as ever.

Just vocal ones. Not being on Facebook is met with bewilderment usually, so online its easier to find other people that are relatable by speaking up. Many people that are tied to Facebook share the same woes and may be looking for more inspiration about how to simply live without Facebook.

So there's simply value in saying that you aren't on it, when these kind of threads or sound boxes pop up.

Still on it, but only for the memes.

I stopped using Facebook about 4 years ago. Haven't looked back since. I haven't lost contact with anybody that I cared to not lose contact with. A random "hey what's up" text is usually enough.

Like the majority of the people here, I use Facebook sparingly, but I constantly need to go back there because of numerous groups that I follow. Is there any way to sideline the infamous "news feed" and instead curate a manual feed containing only group posts?

Are they groups of friends or general interest groups? I created a fake profile where I just join groups I'm interested in, and it's worked pretty well. It's just about the only way I use Facebook these days - I only check my "real" profile once every 2-4 weeks for a minute or two to see if I received any messages.

The only downside is some groups won't accept you if you don't have any friends, but there doesn't seem to be many like that.

Along with the groups app, you can get a browser extension to block the news feed, and liberally disable notifications that you don't care about (including email/sms).

try their standalone Groups app

Ah... Thanks! I didn't know this. I wanted the groups feature but don't want to deal with the feed

I uninstalled the apps (db/messenger) and only visit it about once per week. I logout after I visit.

Checking it takes about 5 minutes. There are usually 10 posts from friends at the top.

The rest of it is total garbage. Petitions, fake news, etc.

I noticed that if I visit Facebook more than 5 minutes per week, I will feel miserable.

95% of my fb feed is designed to make me upset. I just don't need all of that negativity.

Totally unrelated to the article, so I understand this might be down voted...

If I used a bot to delete all of my posts (and literally everything else) after which, I deleted my account... is that actually deleted? Edit: It's been a year or more since doing this.

It was such a time waster, and I felt that... if I remove some of my data, it might be a good idea. It is a bit tinfoil-y, I admit but the less data that is out there, the better since Facebook is going into a lot of other markets.

Edit 2: Reason for deletion was that I noticed some of my very old posts were not created by me but said they were. I assume it was either a virus or, more likely, some of my friends xD... I am sure the teenagers can relate.. people go on your screen in labs and write "HACKED" (NOT REALLY SILLY!!!)

Chances are that none of this is actually ever deleted but simply made unavaible, in the realm of the shadow profiles facebook is reported to have on people that are not yet registered.

Even if you probably can't achieve actual deletion, what you did probably didn't hurt and removed information for other public or API access.

That sucks. I have said too many silly things on Facebook. oh well.

the common counter to this feeling is that if facebook makes you miserable, then your friends are probably just not good ones.

of course, this ignores that we all have friends who do things we don't like, and they're friends in spite of that. so the question is, given that facebook is used mainly for

1. communication

2. event planning

3. keeping the relationship alive.

how do you get those things without all of the bloat, both cognitively and as a matter of tech?

I feel that facebook is overkill if that's indeed true. what we (or at least I) need is just something that will sift through my calendar and all forms of communication and just let me know if I haven't contacted a friend in so often.

such a thing would eliminate the need for facebook for 99% of people, I suspect.

Unfollow everyone

I don't use facebook, but that seems like silly advice. if you're going to unfollow everyone, then the primary value prop is gone.

each time you bother to manually check on someone, you could've just called/emailed/messaged them. at that point you might as well delete your account imo.

Unfollowing someone is different from unfriending them; in the former case, you just stop seeing the person's posts in your news feed: https://www.facebook.com/help/190078864497547

People assume you have Facebook. Still having my account keeps things smooth.

I left facebook a couple of weeks ago. It's been great so far, because I don't feel the urge to read comments on news sites' fanpages. When I did, it usually ended in resent against people from my country for being so stupid.

That's more like Instagram than Facebook.[1] There are paid "Facebook influencers" [2] but it doesn't seem to be as big a thing as on Instagram.

Remember, sharing is spamming.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/may/05/earn-a-living-... [2] https://socialix.com/facebook-influencers

Can you expand more on the _sharing is spamming_ ?

Seems like a point with some depth to it.

Everything you share is visible to all your friends AND their friends, so you are grabbing attention of few hundreds/thousands of people, most of whom are total strangers to you - that's called spamming.

I know hindsight bias is a thing, but I the response in me that bubbled up was "of course."

I think everyone under the age of 40 knows that their insta and fb involve posts that make us look cooler/more hip/sexier than we really are. Isn't that how things have always been? How many nytimes articles have been written about Irritable Bowel Syndrome, to use their example? Or how often do you talk about it with friends before the internet? Has that really changed?

It's just the medium that has changed. Some thing's are new, some are the same. People presenting the best of themselves certainly hasn't.

Contrary to every comment so far, after I stopped using FB for some time, I've now started to use it again. It is not that I care much about what dinner some random friend is having, but I've started to use it to publish some photos that I take with my smartphone.

I don't care much about the upvotes, but as I do a lot of walking on the mountains around my house, I now have a kind of a motivation to snap a photo, add some effects or change the colors a bit (on the phone itself) and publish.. :)

Oh, and there's someone I follow who posts a lot of beautiful places on my country, places I eventually would like to go..

Instagram might be a better fit though?

Probably, I don't really know what Instagram is..

Edit: I've checked it, thanks, it seems good, but I'm wary of adding another app to my list. As long as I can add photos and my closest family/friends can see them, FB is enough for me. :)

FWIW, I finally signed up for instagram a few months back - mostly to post artwork. I had hesitated: I don't have facebook on my phone, after all, and figured facebook was enough.

Much to my surprise, It seems to be a much better platform for artwork and photography (most of my followers are posting the same, so generally interesting to go through as well). It will also post to facebook from the instagram app.

I check Facebook maybe once a week now (via the Tinfoil app), for perhaps a minute or two. This is just to check messages that my friends sometimes send out when trying to organise meet-ups.

This is the only utility I get from Facebook now. Anything else is just akin to endless spam, except it's from people I know (some well, some not so well).

I made the mistake when I first opened an account of adding all my family and colleagues. Man, that was quickly realised as a grave mistake.

I've found Facebook to be a great product for me. I went to an international school, and many of my high school friends are spread across the world. I'm not super-close with all of them, but close enough to want to know what they're up to (and visa-versa). Facebook allows that (as do many other things - which I also use).

I've also got a lot of friends who purposefully stay off Facebook for the same reasons espoused in the posts on HN, and I understand that reasoning too.

The only minor irritation I have is that a lot of events that go on in my city, or that my friends host, use Facebook events. I'll occasionally get a complain from a non-facebook using friend that they didn't get invited to ______, and it's usually just because they weren't on Facebook and the host doesn't know them well enough to go out of their way to invite them.

And the person not invited usually responds along the lines of "well, apparently the party host is not a close enough friend to SMS or email or call me, so whatever," That might or might not be entirely true.. but either way, why are you complaining about not being invited?! Because you are using Facebook as some gauge of friendship, and now you feel this friendship isn't a 'deep' as you thought it was because they don't want to SMS you individually?

Quite frankly, I love being invited to things by far acquaintances, because it just gives me an opportunity to meet new people. I don't use Facebook friending/event invites as any metric for the depth of a relationship. Just to find new stuff to do.

I'm so happy that I stopped using Facebook a year ago! It's just funny to read all the psychological studies about Facebook and how the people suffer from using it.

I have a strategy for making facebook a lot less interesting:

1. Unfollow (not unfriend, i.e. not noticable) all your friends - this will clean up your newsfeed and confuse the algorithm

2. Follow some pages that do not post a lot from brands you are interested in

3. Uninstall the facebook mobile app and increase your battery

All in all, I can still use messenger for some things but without the load that facebook brings to the table. You might miss out on some things but you'll be happier because you are oblivious.

Is "I don't have Facebook" the new "I don't own a TV"?

Yeah, I've been thinking that for a while now. Haven't seen a "Kill your Facebook" bumper sticker yet, though.

Probably not, because I'd guess that most people on Facebook still have TVs, and most people not on Facebook _also_ have TVs.

(clearly this doesn't include areas where most people don't have TVs.)

(I meant more in terms of it being a meme/posturing, rather than a literal truth)

I have dropped facebook for everything but events. I muted / unfollowed everybody, disabled all non-event notifications, and cleared out a lot of personal information.

What set this off was seeing a a buddy I hadn't spoken with in nearly a decade. Typically bumping into an old friend and catching up would be great, but we both knew nearly everything about each other due to our investment in social media. We still had stuff to talk about, but I felt somewhat robbed of that moment.

From day one I avoided adding people from high school or other areas of my life where I wasn't interested in sharing real-world social experiences. It might sound harsh, but I just don't care what these strangers are up to.

Social media is fine for some people, but I've never been happier to be ignorant of my friend's lives until I spend real time with them.

That being said, the event organization aspect of Facebook is great, and I know a lot of people who have stayed with the site for the same reason. The sooner a simple, centralized event organization platform becomes popular, the sooner we can start a proper exodus.

Back in 2013, after a complicated break up, I decided that seeing photos of my ex randomly appearing with her new SO in our common friends posts was not helping me at all, and so, I left Facebook. After all these years I've not missed it one bit. You end up knowing who truly cares about you, as they will always reach you whether you are on Facebook or not.

I have never used Facebook, so I can’t chime in in these threads to say “I quit Facebook because…”, since I’ve never used it. The reason? Even if we disregard the admittedly huge walled-garden and privacy issues, it just seems to be an extremely time-expensive and constantly distracting hobby, with not much to really recommend it.

I'm also part of those who never registered an account on facebook because it was obvious from the get-go what this was gonna be about.

There were only one major difference from the previous similar services namely the shift to having people carelessly use their actual names which is something that was unthinkable until then. And a minor difference in the large use of tricks from the dark book of anti-patterns and dark patterns to get more and more unsuspecting people on board.

To be 100% honest I did use facebook for a little while as I was employed in the shady business of uncovering online users identities and tracking them in the real world. The emergence of facebook made my job a breeze at first, then before long made the whole job position entirely expendable, clients would simply use facebook themselves to conveniently find all the info they were after in one place.

I did leave FB for awhile. But I realized that there are groups on Facebook that I do find interesting. I do get the occasional event invite on FB, sometimes personal, sometimes even work related. And, there are some people I enjoy communicating with, on Facebook.

But, I really don't have much interest in what most of my friends post. Luckily, it's easy to just "unfollow" them to declutter my feed. They are still on my friends list and we can still communicate via FB/Messenger if needed. I just don't have to scroll through pictures of their food or kids or pets.

It's funny how what you say in line with what others often say.

To me it seems that you remove almost all of what facebook offers to keep instant messaging, contact list and email. Things one can achieve outside of facebook but for some reason people still insist on using facebook for these even though they admit they dislike it.

Just leave the damn thing already and build your networking outside of it instead giving more momentum to something you don't like and know is bad at the global scale.

Maybe a groups and events app would have a lot of utility.

They could probably bake it into messenger.

> Maybe a groups and events app would have a lot of utility.

Facebook has stand alone apps for groups and events, individually.



Great! Ive seen several communities move off of their own custom built sites into facebook groups

A crude solution driven by the people simply being there

This article is absolutely true on everything, except for the title. The title gives the impression that one should continue on as is on the Facebook. That's misleading to the intent of the whole article.

Substitute "World of Warcraft" for "Facebook" in the comments below! There were so many similar discussions about WoW years ago. I am afraid the fact is that some people are very vulnerable and games and social properties do not account for or accommodate that fact.

Everyone else is reading this and thinking - "Oh yeah, I suppose I shouldn't be so bothered".

I don't use Facebook. I still feel miserable for the same reason I feel miserable when I see war. FB is designed to encourage the absolute worst of all our human nature, dressed up as a "tool to reconnect with people". To make the war analogy even more true, now people are actually 'dying on Facebook'.

Just a simple question: If Facebook is harmful why not cut it out of life and cancel the account? Done this some years ago being a lot more happier as a result...

No need to read untrue postings from people claiming that they are the "winners of life" while everybody knows that they did not achieve anything for real...

I do think that like any other tool, it's should be handled with care. I do find Facebook useful for events (shows and concerts) and it's invaluable as a replacement for forums. Find it much less useful as a way to connect with friends.


Seems like I'm just to old for that kind of addiction. Thanks for insight :)

I've ended up just moving the messenger into a fluid (osx) window on my status bar and not having the site in my browser all the time has helped a lot.

Being able to pop down just the messages with a click and back off straight after means I'm only going to the site every other day to check the notifications for a few minutes.

To avoid FB making me miserable, I only follow people whose posts tend to be interesting. The tools are there. Just use them.

If there's something I can ask FB to do is to make it still easier to manage privacy of posts, and to unsubscribe to second-degree stuff like "X liked Y" or "X reacted to Y".

I don't even look at my feed for this reason. I think it kind of offends people though when I meet them and had no idea they went to Yosemite the past weekend. So now before I hang out with someone, I brush up on their feed real quick.

I deleted Facebook fully years ago and my social life shrunk in quantity, but improved immensely in quality.

I don't think Facebook is universally bad, but if you have your doubts, try quitting it for a month and see what happens.

The way I cut out Facebook out of my life was to use a password manager to generate a 128 character password, store it in the password manager (which itself has 50+ character long password) and log-out of Facebook.

Facebook is great to find out what family and friends are doing since virtually everyone is using it. That's all.

It will never make me miserable since I rarely post and don't care about "likes"

Tl;dr - reading FB makes you jealous so quit and read popular Google search requests instead and be happy about how big a mess everybody else in fact is.

I just have Facebook so I can occasionally message some contact. I use it as messenger purpose only.

I like snapchat a lot better since it's actually social.

I am a lot happier as a person

How do you know if someone doesn't use Facebook....

Slightly ironic that the article has social media buttons. It's much better to let the media make you miserable.

On a cynical meta level, the article is like Beer telling you not to let Wine make you miserable.

I deleted my Facebook account a few months ago and it has felt great to not waste time on their.

I glance at the thing every so often.

That's OK fine. Anyone who really matters can use other channels.

I don't let it make me miserable. I deleted it years ago.

If a Facebook post of a photo of a friend sitting in their new BMW, sipping 30 year old single malt next to a 19 year old bikini model whist reading Grant's Interest Rate Observer on a beach in Nice captioned with a Kurt Vonnegut quote is making you miserable then I suspect there are larger psychological issues at play then social media usage that might be remedied with a walk in a park, physical interaction with another human being or a good book.


Please don't post unsubstantive comments here.

Seriously? Who says that we have no choice but to compare ourselves with others?

Facebook is a great way to stay connected with old friends. There's a pleasant feeling about seeing how the people you once knew are doing these days.

If you do inevitably end up focusing more on the Maserati, the million dollar wedding, etc., then that's your problem. Your insecurity. Whenever I scroll past those things, I simply say, "Cool" and move on.

And to the people who stopped using Facebook altogether to help them concentrate better: Self-control. It's like how a lactose intolerant person blames the ice-cream in the freezer for making them eat it.

> Who says that we have no choice but to compare ourselves with others

Human nature

Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact