Very interesting to see the difference in tone in the headline alone between NYT and Salon.
* NYT - This Is Your Brain Off Facebook. Planning on quitting the social platform? A major new study offers a glimpse of what unplugging might do for your life. (Spoiler: It’s not so bad.)
* Salon - A "gold standard" study finds deleting Facebook is great for your mental health. A unique study praised for its rigor finds numerous upsides to deactivating your Facebook account.
 - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/30/health/facebook-psycholog...
I deleted it because the company seems thoroughly evil and doesn't respect my privacy. But if anyone comes up with a privacy-respecting alternative I'd be more than happy to become on of their first adopters.
So maybe we could shamelessly copy that exact model for the new federated open-source Facebook replacement.
Edit: also, are we the problem?
Then you would be competing with every other social media startup along with the social media sites that have pretty much limitless resources.
Say your website is a success however, you basically have two options: go public and turn into facebook eventually, because your duty is not to the site anymore, it is to the shareholder and to the dollar.
don't go public and never get off the ground, because you won't be able to keep your programmers or compete with the tech giants.
Of course that would get routinely disrupted by the base providers, since that is direct intrusion into their precious data silos.
But it would be cool.
Because I'm not super interested in outright encryption of all my thoughts and activity. That actually broadcasts you/marks you. At this point I have a lot of trackers that have SOME information on me.
So I'd like a lot of obfuscation and noise inserted around what companies know about "me".
ie. I create a single account and my friends each create a single account and I create groups out of those friends, and then I share my photos with a group, and my friends can see and perhaps comment on the photos that have been shared with them.
How much would it cost per user per month to make this sustainably ad-free?
I hate ads in general and so provide me an option to pay for and remove it as well.
The problem with Facebook isn't that some people can see some things you don't want them to. "Privacy controls" are just a distraction from the real problem which is that Facebook can see everything.
I'm working on something at the moment. More experiment than anything else for the time being but the purpose of it is to have a minimal "social network" for keeping in touch with people, and that's about it. Very little in the way of notifications and most facebook-like features. Just a way to keep in touch and keep contact details for people you care about.
Question for anyone who would be interested in such a thing: How would you suggest monetising or funding such a project?
I've been doing something similar. If your network is decentralized, I've been thinking monetization can be in the form of easy VM reselling for the service. Find a provider w/ affiliate $, integrate it into setup. They are the owners of the AWS (or whatever) account and everything's transparent, but you make it easy to install/upgrade. Or could hide the host details and be the "server manager" for them, i.e. managed hosting.
If you are centralized, there are several other ways. You can do a simple one like "completely free to use for companies < $1m revenue/year, $100/month otherwise" (wild number guesses, would need research). Other options can get a bit more sketchy, ala freemium/addons, e.g. pay to style your page, etc.
Sponsored ads and content is probably the only way, other than donations, to keep the service free. You can do ads without tracking, as long as you're transparent about what is or isn't an ad.
The other option is to segment the market with "premium tier" features that only finicky people care about. For example, everyone gets a standard page layout but you can pay to unlock custom style-sheets. Or you can pay extra to display higher resolution photos. Or you only hold onto posts and content for 3 years unless people pay for archival storage (at which point you're basically just running a backup service).
Alternatively, lots of community groups use facebook as a community forum. You can have moderators or forum administrators pay a hosting fee and that maintains the rest of the site.
Perhaps worth giving DuckDuckGo a look, at how they're making money.
It's based on blockchain, which makes me nervous, but it does allow you to purchase a version of the product which removes all promotion from the product entirely.
Which is probably why Facebook is trying to Facebookify Instagram and WhatsApp. Once they do I'm sure people will start to flee to knock-off services instead.
The truly toxic part of facebook and much of social media today is the amount of news and politics that have been allowed on it.
It's basically just a morning and evening edition paper.
All you have to do is unfollow everyone! Literally everyone. Your feed will be blank and peaceful, but you will still be able to maintain a presence on messenger and maintain your profile for people to reach you. You can also still interact with private Facebook groups and things, if you want.
This is what I did, and it curbed my addiction to checking facebook.
After a while, I slowly started following specific people again (mainly just the people I interact with on a daily basis, and the few family members that I can actually stand).
The moment someone starts stressing me out by posting nonsense or clutter, they get unfollowed.
It's very zen, and my mental health has drastically improved from it.
P.S. If you Google "Facebook Unfollow All", there are multiple tools and things like browser extensions which make this as simple as one button press to accomplish. It can be pretty tedious to do manually by hand if you have a lot of friends.
I sometimes check specific pages of my friends, but I am more prone to just contacting them and asking them how they are doing specifically. As a result, some people have been pushed away, others have been pulled closer, and I've found who I genuinely wanted to hear from and communicate with.
Though this plus restricting who can see my profile in the first place does sometimes make it a bit difficult for people who I've casually met to reconnect with me. Maybe I'll loosen that up a bit.
I started just by unfollowing literally everyone. I have since readded my immediate family and a couple close friends. I find this doesn't change things, and it's more automatic than remembering to check their pages. They don't post much.
Finally, when visiting Munich I joined a local group. Didn't unsubscribe, so I still see posts. This is sort of handy: if you have nothing followed, facebook will dresge up random stuff such as suggested friends.
With a single group you auto ignore, facebook is content and just shows that. (But beneath family, if there are any posts from them)
You know Zuck has experimented with making people’s feeds negative to see the impact on their usage?
I get Facebook works for you, but consider the company is run by a truly evil and insidious man. As an organizer consider helping people leave.
So you get a new platform, but if you only do one event every few months then there is no really no reason to check it, and then suddenly no one is doing events.
Like it or not, Facebook is the modern yellowpages and you need something everyone is on to replace it. I think that’s going to happen sooner or later.
It’s anecdotal of course, but very few people in my social circle use Facebook for anything but organising events, and you don’t need their app, messenger or even to log on more than once in a while to do that. If you couple that with the fact that everyone is tired of their bullshit, I think they seem ripe for disruption.
Most news outlets focus only on the mean (most of which are positive). But when your standard deviation is large enough to change the sign, don't put much stock in the outcome. If there's one thing that was hammered into my head when I took statistics, it's that a confidence interval of (-1, 5) does not mean the true value is more likely close to 2 (or positive, or whatever). There's no valid reason to focus on the positive values more, when your confidence interval crosses the zero point.
Old friends you want to connect with? There’s always email and a phone number. People actually reach out to me outside of that awful service to say “Hey Foo is in town” or “We’re having a reunion for Bar”.
Just delete it, notify people first, save the images you want, and torch it. Everything incremental just allows you joining it again later which Facebook is more than happy to facilitate.
I find not having FB way better for those relationships anyways, instead of creepily knowing their life story since I stopped seeing them )because of FB) we have something to reconnect and talk about if I do run into them.
And I did manage my FB friends well, I deleted it when I realized FB facilitated those conversations in ways I hated and most of my feeds was ads anyways.
The problem for me now is that I'm a Clemson alum and Clemson is doing awesome right now...so I reactivated my Facebook just to celebrate everything with all my friends from college.
I ended up finding a fairly happy medium of unfollowing every person who posts anything even remotely political (even if I agree with it) and now my feed is essentially football trash talking + friends celebrating life events.
They seem to have found a happy medium with Facebook, which seems to be the key with social media - stay in contact, but don't let it rule your life. That, as well as pretty much everything else requires finding a balance.
Things that fit that "great until it's not" description:
- Eating Chocolate Cake
- Being Awake
- Not Working
Nothing of any value was lost. When I login and see all the garbage spammed at me I ask myself "Why should I care about any of this?"
My feed contains:
- Strongly moderated meme pages based on screenshots from a TV show. No political posts allowed. Everyone's here to partake in the shared enjoyment of a show.
- Nothing from friends; 1-on-1 is better, and most status updates are networking-style humblebrags anyway.
- Nothing from news sites; this should be obvious to anyone who's seen how the algorithm operates.
- Nothing from Events: my event invites (posted on FB) arrive via email notification.
Result? I almost never check my FB except when I actively think about wasting time with some dumb memes.
A big part of why it's hard to leave FB is because it's become a part of people's everyday ritual. I recommend starting to unfollow some pages and people, and see how that impacts your FB use. Slowly, you can taper it off more and more.
I've come up with a fix though! I simply have an addon in firefox that refreshes the web-page in 20 seconds! It is just enough annoyance to give up (especially after I am over halfway though an article..)
Many friends have quit FB and reported that they feel better, and almost everyone on this thread is reporting the same thing, so there must be something to it. Honestly though, I have a hard time understanding why looking at a FB feed would bother someone. If it is anxiety over privacy, then absolutely, leaving FB absolutely makes sense. I get the feeling that it agitates people for other reasons though, but I am not sure what those are.
I think this is one of the reasons; instead of accepting hardships exist and dealing with them, some people use social media as a filter for life. As such, since they avoid hardships, they never trained on dealing with hardships. I've spoken about it in my comment history, but I think some people lack perseverance/grit in this regard. A gas station cashier may be less motivated to get out of their job for a better career because they are busy getting entertained on their phone rather while than being bored during dead times.
I still have Facebook mostly for planning things with groups, but have all notifications disabled. Now, I only check it once a week to see plans change or if I was tagged in a picture. I just don't care about the rest.
I keep seeing the word humblebrag come up in discussions on FB and I have to wonder if the real reason is that some people see social media as a form of competition. We now see both the good fortunes and misfortunes of people in a much wider global circle, which can provoke either jealousy or anxiety.
> I just don't care about the rest.
Everyone is different I guess. I could never say that I do not care about the welfare of friends and family.
I never stated that. I don't care about using Facebook to actively follow online personas of my friends. I see them multiple times a week, so I can find out their welfare then. For random people I'm friends with? Eh, less interested in the Tasty video they shared.
> wouldn't leavers report great angst from withdrawal
That's my point - that by not viewing life through a tailored filter, you have to deal with the less pleasant parts. As these are minor hardships and not major tragedies, happiness is coming partially from a sense of being able to "handle" things.
I am not saying this is explicitly where the happiness comes from, but if people quitting social media are reporting higher scores of happiness then either the metrics are wrong or the next question is "why". At which point, what are the factors that cause happiness, and how are those factors formed outside social media?
I feel like a lot of my time suddenly became free, and I get am overall less stressed out. It could just be a placebo effect, but there's about a zero-percent likelihood that I'll reopen my account any time soon.
Surely not reading Salon and its ilk would also result in this. Half of the toxic political posts on FB originate on sites like Salon, HuffPo... I think they’re more at fault for the political polarization of our society than FB which is mainly just a conduit.
Eventually we'll all wake up from our slumber and realize how we've been manipulated for so long, but until then it's just going to be witch hunt after witch hunt.
There's only so long we can succumb to this before we all begin to wonder what the fuck we're doing allowing the media to continually manipulate our own sense of well-being in order to keep the sentiment in favour of their stakeholders.
It's pretty sick, honestly, but eventually we will all wise up to it - it's inevitable. Let's just hope it's before we destroy our humanity.
I pity you if fb is running your life.
Heck why do I have a smartphone?
1. deleting the app
2. Using a custom facebook style (like this one ) which deactivates the news feed. That way you can still use it to check your messages occasionally and have to actively make the decision to scroll through the news feed by deactivating the extension.
3. Deleting messenger once you have told all relevant people that you will be less reachable through facebook, more through email / signal whatever alternative you use.
I have been using facebook less and less that way and realized how often I was mindlessly scrolling through the feed.
I still keep my FB account for messages and events, since my friends and family won't all delete Facebook en masse, but this has removed a whole bunch of wasted time.
In addition to https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html, you might find these links helpful for getting an idea of the spirit of this site:
A "snowflake" (slang much newer than "flake") is someone who has an inflated sense of entitlement and uniqueness.
Though it does seem that "snowflake" has recently evolved in a way that there is some overlap with "flake" (emotionally sheltered, easily distressed by ideas running contrary to one's world view).