The frustrations are real, though. Primarily it's around events and photos. There are some communities I participate in that regularly organize events through Facebook, and now I don't really get invited to those anymore. It's also harder to organize events where you casually invite people you don't know as well.
It's also occasionally annoying not being able to dig up a certain photo you wanted for reference. Even if you have a copy of the photo somewhere, if you don't have it hosted online then you can't really bring it up to show it to someone.
Still, frustrations aside, it's 90% great, and I recommend everyone try it for themselves.
As far as events go, the neckbeard in me hasn't actually minded. I still get invited to "high quality" events (things my real-life friends are going to) and haven't really missed the lower quality events.
Photos I just conveniently had solved by having all my photos on Google Photos anyways (I stopped trusting offline storage long ago).
I think my Facebook account is reactivated at the moment (due to logging in to search for something) but I disabled notification when I'd originally left and haven't looked back. Life's easier (and way more productive) without the Book.
Interestingly, I still find a lot of value in Messenger. But they've split concerns so you can use that without reactivating your FB account.
Life is generally more rewarding. I'm much more in contact with the life that I want to live, instead of the life that I want to portray. People I know have "unlearned" Facebook - I actually receive emails and phone calls to catch up.
I think that Facebook must be dealing with some unknown human behavior. Back when I was on it, everyone I knew (myself included) would have registered as psychopathic. Photos in relationships revolved around posting to Facebook, not creating a treasury of memories. "Not being official until you're Facebook official" was a thing; such a belief was acceptable back then, even though it's absurd and cold in retrospect. It really brought out the most disgusting part of me and everyone that I knew.
Being off the Book is great. From day one it doesn't get easier; life gets better - especially in terms of avoiding the lower quality riff raff.
However, that just may be that I don't live in the US, and it just might be more pervasive there.
For example: not being on Facebook means you actually have to keep in touch with people to know what they are doing. That sounds like a "duh" moment, but it's also key to how FB is replacing real social interaction with "social interaction".
The knock on effects of this are deep, because without it you have to have meaningful and importantly intentioned social interaction with people.
That changes things.
If anything happens in any of the first two groups, I hear about it because I'm directly invited. There aren't things that I hear about from Facebook, unless it's some club organizing an event or something similar.
How do you* interact with people, generally? Do you talk to them less but see what they post on Facebook?
* By "you" I mostly mean "people who use Facebook for socialization".
I also have the same three tiered social circle. The first circle I have regular contacts with on the phone, WhatsApp or in person. The second circle tells me when something happens in their life like them getting placed, winning a competition or getting into a relationship.
Facebook helps me immensely with the third group. I can get to know when people are placed in jobs and can then call them up to rekindle the acquaintance (so that I can later get them to introduce me to other people to expand my professional network). If I call regularly (like maybe once each two months) then it quickly turns into silence because we don't know what the other person is doing at the moment, where they are or even what has lately happened in their lives. I can't also talk about common acquaintances due to the same lack of information.
Personally for me Facebook events serve no purpose because if any of us want to plan a meeting we can do so by phone, email or WhatsApp. It does help to plan school reunions though. Facebook's utility to me exists because the people on Facebook keep posting parts of their life on it and I can keep interacting with them without too much effort of having the pain of keeping track of over a 100 acquaintances.
I deal with it slightly by checking the "See updates from these people first" for certain people. It causes them to appear in a cluster at the top of my feed. The best thing is that the cluster is collapsed to show just two stories and I can then expand if there are more.
No, that's exactly what it doesn't. Rather, it leaves them as they were before this stupid and insufficient replacement was invented.
Just to run a counterpoint to this, there are Facebook groups that have opened up whole new social circles for me and provide opportunities. I'm into whitewater kayaking and the "Where's the Whitewater at?" group has people planning informal trips at a few hours notice when someone drives by and notices a river is runnable. You go out and paddle with people you haven't met before, make new friends who share your interests, etc.
Also, it is great for learning about new hazards in a river, i.e. fallen trees, that make a certain trip either possible or much more dangerous.
Funnily enough, I found Messenger to be the worst of all their offerings. The lack of searchable history, the terrible (terrible) scroll-back, the default always-on-screen notification bubble, the way they forced the standalone app down users' throats by disabling messages in both the FB app and the mobile web version, all really turned me off to it.
Use https://m.me - It's the web app just for Messenger; on my desktop I launch it via Chrome with the --app= param so it runs in it's own window.
Click on the ⓘ that's located in the top right of a conversation, and you'll see the search option (among other things).
I've long since abandoned Facebook, but I wouldn't be surprised if a similar IFTTT feature exists to export tagged photos into Google Photos. If I recall this only works for 'new' photos posted that you are tagged in, it doesn't appear to pull images from before you enabled the IFTTT service. At any rate, this lets you see photos you are tagged in without ever having to actually use your Facebook account.
No more accidental or ambiguous re-activation...
Filtering: not just for censorship.
Do you trust online storage? Meaning, do you have backups of your photos offline somewhere, or are you only in the cloud?
Afaik when you deactivate your Facebook account, you have the option to keep the Messenger account, but just deactivate/delete the Facebook account.
No ads, no political spam, no viral garbage, no pictures of what your friend ate for dinner, no psychologically manipulative algorithms. Just people talking to their friends and posting pictures of themselves hanging out.
If someone made a new social network like that, I'd sign up today.
That seems to be depressingly true of any social website. There seems to be a sort, sweet spot that exists briefly between the implementation of a good idea and when the parasites catch on and move in to ruin it.
Wow that happened 27 years ago. Time does fly.
I am blaming Facebook. The parasites I was thinking of are the people and impulses that pervert the successful formula to push some agenda (e.g. push for some "engagement" metric, push people to use this or that app, unscrupulous monetization, etc).
But year after year they've stepped back on privacy, while still being a completely closed platform compared to the open web.
Facebook does the opposite now, which leads people to use it as a content consumption platform rather than a social network. Obviously that's what Facebook wants, since content consumption is infinitely more profitable than people posting on each other's walls all day.
Yes, you'd have to manually curate some things, but otherwise I think it's mostly just a matter of not hiring any marketing people, and creating the features first and looking how to make them easily usable second. Especially if the goal isn't to "kill FB", but simply offer an alternative to those who want the good bits and actually like, uhh, reading manuals and being proficient with the tools they use.
They can't come if there is nowhere for them to come to, and then it's easy to pretend they don't exist. But they do, even among the old and young and not so technical.
AI can help with that. Facebook already has automatic alt text for images, for example:
* Image may contain: 1 person, standing, selfie and phone
* Image may contain: cat
* Image may contain: food
And for an end-user, simple filtering can help with that. I sometimes use the FBPurity browser extension to hide everything that's a link or shared post, leaving almost exclusively original content. It can filter on that automatic alt text too if you hate cats, but I don't mind frivolous posts that are original content from my actual friends.
Make your own.
Here's what I did for my local network of friends (who also all hate Facebook). Install Wordpress, add the free Buddypress plugin, purchase $50 BuddyPress theme. Throw on a server.
There you go, your own private social network in under a week.
Or you can make your own social network with Diaspora* (https://diasporafoundation.org) or GNU Social (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11062757)
> If someone made a new social network like that, I'd sign up today.
Get into the world of finstas, that's basically the concept behind them.
Lots of people have. There was for example Ello a couple of years ago. Me and many of my Facebook friends created accounts, used it for a couple of weeks and slowly kind of ended up back on facebook. Apparently no one else stuck around either since Ello seems to have turned itself into something else.
Manipulative algorithms can be taken out though, I suppose.
In a short period of time, that would solve 90% of your problems.
Just looked through settings and wasn't able to find anything for order of posts in news feed.
> And mute your obnoxious friends from appearing in your newsfeed.
Yep this is pretty easy to do.
> You can also hide posts from particular websites from appearing on your newsfeed.
This isn't helpful since you cannot block the entire class of "transitive" posts. Eg a Honda ad because a friend of mine liked a Honda page. Sure I can block Honda. But Toyota or Volkswagen can still show up until I block them individually...
And I think after a couple weeks hiding posts you'll significantly reduce the variety of content hitting your newsfeed.
Posting pictures of your food should be a criminal offence. Nothing too serious, just a couple of years in prison or something.
"Look, honey, we got something in the mail from Katie and John! It's... oh... just a bunch of pictures of food. That's odd."
Meanwhile Katie and John are still at home, furiously stuffing envelopes with the same food pictures so they can send one to everybody in their address book.
I also miss the "going to the beach", "this was a nice day" etc.
I don't miss "join me on farmville", "1000 reasons why Trump and/or Hillary are dumb" etc.
I deleted the app last year. Kept the account because as far as I can tell it's the same difference and I haven't summoned the strength to go retrieve my photos yet. Haven't missed it at all. Meanwhile my wife is increasingly addicted...
I don't understand your comment at all. What else would you be saying when you show a picture of nice food other than "this food is great"? I'm not in the habit of posting food photos but I've never understood the hysteria around it on places like HN.
I cannot remember thinking that about others but maybe I don't follow the same people as you.
"Look what I'm doing right now!"
Isn't this just like a smaller version of Show HN?
I mean: you make something, you post it and someone else chimes in with ideas or (hopefully) constructive criticism?
Is there any reason that I cannot see why making food isn't a form of making that we can be proud of?
No, but we were talking about why people post pictures of food that they buy, not that they make.
Because, yeah. Caning is totally commensurate with that.
With your help? The moment you declare (or any friend declares) a relationship in the profile, they 'have' you both.
If someone wants to talk to me I get a popup on my Messenger app on my phone, and if I get an event invite it shows up there too.
Good for them, but they seem to mistake it as some sort of universal lifehack.
Does it have to be universal to be useful? Helping 0.01% of the US Facebook userbase save 1 hour every week is still huge...
So, that's one downside, I think.
There's a few communities that I'm in that I wouldn't even know about, event-wise, if I wasn't on Facebook. I can't imagine missing those- I'm surprised others don't use Facebook more for events.
As others have mentioned, I also use News Feed Eradicator, so I don't even see anything on Facebook, unless it's one of my close friends. It's fantastic, and my time on the site is probably less than 2 minutes/day.
I'm considering making a dummy account with a few friends just for the purpose of finding out about events.
Side note, does anyone know of a service that allows you to track FB events without having to be in the Facebook app? Not sure if there's an API for that.
My point is the following: I was one day on the street and saw a flyer glued onto a wall, it looked kinda funky and hand-drawn, interesting; some DJ's were going to throw a party and spin salsa, funk, latin jazz, cumbia... And I didn't recognize any of the names or the venues, I was mildly shocked because I believed I knew the local scene pretty well.
Almost always I can contextualize a music genre/scene, and see their connections and collaborations. But this random flyer I came across was so obscure! No relations, no known names, and the mix of styles and originality was very interesting! For the first time in many years I felt again what is like to find an underground scene, which I like a lot (like when dancing drum&bass in a basement in Berlin or listening to rap in Mexico).
This is a magic that is sometimes lost in the believed omniscence and omnipresence of online/facebook. I bet people soon will want to have those kind of experience, and the new thing will be to find scenes that people don't even know about online.
Now I have to scroll through ads and a bunch of irrelevant "local events for you" just to find what I'm looking for.
I will say, however that they've stepped up their ad insertion and display algorithm a bit recently, in a bad way, which is unfortunate. But I certainly see much less of the spammy ideological content that I do on Facebook and Twitter.
In other words, most of what I saw on Instagram was people trying to get followers and likes, trying to be like some "adventure photographer", whatever the hell that means. The feeds became clogged with homogenous shots of feet over the same beaches, curving roads, VW vans, etc. It became about the aesthetic you show, rather than the person and events that you are.
That still happens, and it can be a pain, but it's also easy to ignore.
And I do play the hashtag game; not to garner followers or likes but for the rare occasion where another photographer with a similar interest in "real photography" happens to be checking that same hashtag and comes across my photos, or vice versa.
On average I'm getting about 100 likes and 4 or 5 followers per shot. A lot of that is noise, but some of them are real photographers with an interest in the hobby and it's nice to meet people based solely on their photos. I've had conversations with some folks on Instagram local to me suggesting what parks I should shoot at, and I've chatted with others different film development techniques, and so on. For those situations it's worth it.
I will say that Instagram's saving grace is that it's hard to blindly share content since it requires a separate app currently. If that ever changes, and it probably will, I'll be gone.
I should add that very few of the people I follow post anything about themselves. Lazy selfies get them unfollowed. I'm in it because it's a more active photographer community than flickr/500px/whatever.
Same social media rule applies: if you don't like it, just unfollow. I'd argue that it's easier to do that on IG than FB as it feels less personal.
I also use Google photos, which has all of my photos, not just the ones I've uploaded to Facebook. Plus the search is great.
Maybe these suggestions could help your problem and clear that 10%.
So far it's been about a week, and it's been 90% great, and 10% meh. I just logged out of facebook on all of my devices and don't save the password, so it at least makes me think before putting in my password. The meh part is the services I use "login with facebook" on, but it's not that big of a deal.
And while my reasoning was less idealistic than Gruber's, I think he makes a bunch of great points and I very much agree with the spirit of his post.
I was almost done with college when FB suddenly became a cross-generational phenomenon and started being about more than photo sharing and event planning; I still fondly remember those days.
The one advantage I would add is the rare occasion when someone needs to get in touch with me easily: I've had extended family who lives on the other side of the world get in touch with me through FB on short notice when they were visiting my city. I could definitely imagine that some of these cases wouldn't have happened without Facebook, since they would be required to 1) know that I happened to live in this city and 2) go through probably three separate people across different continents to get my phone number. This is infinitely harder than searching their FB friends for my city and going "oh dang! wutbrodo lives there now? I haven't seen him since we were kids, I should reach out!".
That being said, all of the 90% downsides of keeping Facebook are, to some extent, within your control. I won't pretend that I'm congenitally immune to them, but all it took was a little discipline and a little time and it really wasn't that difficult to avoid the timesuck/endless scrolling/notification issues.
I've never really been able to relate to the idea of completely deactivating Facebook and losing the 10% benefits, with the possible exception of the few people who have a completely insurmountable psychological compulsion to use Facebook. This is especially true because of all of the levels of FB exposure you can have without going all-or-nothing: Chrome extensions to remove the newsfeed, disabling notifications on your phone, only visiting FB on the web and not the app, etc.
They scrape Facebook events, allowing you to browse them without a Facebook account. It's not perfect but it's better than nothing.
I have to say though, FB tries really hard to reactivate your notifications. It's especially annoying when it hooks into your mobile Chrome browser notifications (took me a while to figure that out!). And the fact it can't be uninstalled on Samsung devices - at least you don't have to login.
I'm really not that worried about it any more. FB is gufe, but so was AOL. It will in turn be disrupted by a future innovation.
You're not able to exercise self control? I have Facebook, but I never use it apart from the events and Messenger for chatting with certain friends.
Ability to exercise self-control most likely varies significantly among people. It's not like the ability to breath. Also Facebook is explicitly designed to "engage" people, meaning that a piece of information shared on Facebook is going to engage a larger fraction of people than that same piece of information in ... a newspaper (for example). Engagement/attention hacking is a different issue than the walled-garden issue for the most part though.
I treat facebook like i treat my phone. Its a tool. Not a way of life. Been on the internet since '95, back when i was at school i was the only one who would spend hours on the computer, they called us nerds. Now its the opposite, i use the computer at work everyday, and when im home, i stay away from it, my phone, tv, as much as possible and call everyone else geeks who need to stop obsessing over there hands (cause they dont know about computers, they just use them)