Recently I found myself listening to someone who was trying to convince me that I should be doing more on Facebook. For reasons like attracting new customers and making more money. It was pretty sad listening to the spiel, but I do care about people and their opinions, even when they are wrong.
The person really wanted to know “why” I wasn’t spending more time on Facebook. They were spending all of their time and efforts there, and obviously didn’t understand someone who did not share the mindset.
So after thinking for a moment that, well golly, I’ve been on Facebook since 2008, have around 300 friends, eight different Facebook pages, and have joined around a hundred Facebook groups. I thought, like that’s not enough? You want me to spend even more time on Facebook. Lol.
So I responded that I’m actually busy weaning off of Facebook, and that I disagree with how they treat their users. You know, ethics and principles and all that stuff. Pretty important reasons to not want to get more involved but rather work on cutting all ties. Stuff like, because I have to live with myself, and loathe the idea of censorship, data mining, and basically everything that FB reportedly is up to.
And I sent that reply, what I thought was a solid reason for disliking Facebook (the company not the people, I love my friends and followers). But apparently it wasn’t enough to get the message through. For the person shot back saying that I needed to get over my “ego” and not worry so much about the ethics of it, and that no company is 100% ethical, they’re all power-hungry control freaks, yadda yadda yadda. Like you know, come one dude and get on this bandwagon it’s not a big deal.
At that point, I responded that it’s hard to ignore things like principles and integrity in pursuit of profit. And if it were just a matter of ethics or whatever, I would agree that Facebook might be worthwhile. But it isn’t. There are other factors as well. Like amount of work and time required vs. potential payoff. I did a simple cost vs reward analysis and the numbers just aren’t there. Put simply:
FB = too much work for too little reward.
Apparently that last quip was enough to finally get the point across, as the person simply responded with a smiley emoji. So the conversation ended with a smile, but I had a few more points to go.. unfortunately the person was no longer interested, maybe had gotten the point. Maybe not. But I think it’s important especially these days to understand clearly why Facebook is not worth it..
A few reasons why Facebook is not worth it
First as mentioned in the conversation, Facebook reportedly bans and censors users, sells their data, spies on them, tracks them, and basically manipulates just about everything that results in more $$$. But you already understand this, as do most thinking/moderately aware people these days. We’ve all read the reports that Facebook is an unethical giant corporate dinosaur up to no good. Whether or not that’s all true is up to you, my friend. I have no clues.
Second, also as mentioned, Facebook requires too much work for too little reward. Back when Facebook was first getting started, it was easy to get some good likes and hits from a well-phrased post. Then they started in with the Facebook advertising and things began to change. Then they went public with their stock offering and things have gone downhill pretty quickly from there. These days, you can post the most awesome stuff and maybe if you’re lucky get 50 likes on it. Or if you’re super popular maybe 1,000 or more. But the vast majority of users get almost nothing for all the hours of time spent on Facebook. A like here and there, maybe a comment. It’s just not worth it. Unless you’re willing to spend big $$$ (or commit huge amounts of time), the incentive is gone. It’s sad too because it was not always the case.
Third, you can do more outside of Facebook. Life is so much better running your own site. Working for yourself is like owning a home instead of renting. And that’s what Facebook is: renting space paid for by your time and efforts. All those cool photos and nifty memes you’re posting belong to Facebook now, and Facebook can use them to make as much money as they want (and you will get none of it). All the ideas and attention you’re giving to Facebook may be enjoyed by some of your “friends” and followers, but you could be getting much better results doing it your own way. You know, like growing up and moving into your own place, where you make the rules and reap all the rewards.
Fourth, Facebook is like kindergarten for people who don’t know how, or are too lazy to do it for themselves. So you’ve gotta have all sorts of inane rules that do nothing but restrict conversation, limit sharing, restrain ideas, and keep things locked down and “safe” from any unwanted opinions. Because a few newbies and weak-minded imbeciles on Facebook just can’t handle it, or at least that is how they are being treated. Like don’t think for yourself just do as you’re told type preschool mentality. It’s not all like that, there is plenty of great content on Facebook, but the overall vibe or mentality or whatever you want to call it, is just different now than it once was. Or maybe it’s me that’s changed. I really don’t know.
Fifth, and this sort of follows from Facebook being a playground for Internet toddlers, is the lack of control you have when posting, chatting, and doing whatever. It’s all so cut and paste, fill in the dots, color by numbers. Like when you’re a kid and can imagine a whole universe full of amazing things, and then for your birthday some weird relative gives you one of those toys where you put the shaped blocks in the matching shaped holes. That’s all you can do; fill in a few blanks and try to feel like you’re not wasting your life while staring at the same boring UI year after year.
Sixth, and this is because of the previous five points, the general mentality that you get while visiting Facebook is embarrassing. 90% of the posts that I see are either:
- Aimed at complete morons
- Demonstrate a serious lack of intelligence
- Utter rubbish
- All of the above
It’s getting harder and harder to find anything worthwhile on Facebook these days. Apart from a few specific groups and pages, it’s all just the same boring stuff that you can get on any other social platform or elsewhere online. I love my web-dev related groups and pages, but for the most part, like in general, everyone is bored and apathetic just posting the same old garbage day in and day out. All the interesting stuff (and not talking just politics here) is either banned, censored or manipulated. So what’s left is an intellectual wasteland devoid of meaning and inspiration.
Seventh, there are better alternatives literally everywhere. Even if you don’t want to do all the work of putting together your own website, there are many great social-media services outside of the Facebook world that are doing it better, way better. They are easy to find with a few searches like “facebook alternatives” or best facebook alternatives and so forth. You may need to try a few different search engines to find what you’re looking for. So you can keep your principles and dignity. You can avoid the worthless content. You can avoid the spying and selling of your data. You can do better. Better service, better people, better content, better incentive, better reward. Better everything.
Eighth thru infinity, all of the little things that suck. Too many specific examples and details to cover here. This post is sort of a general guide, truly books could be written about all the pathetic stuff that happens on Facebook. But admittedly it’s not all horrible. Some of my friends and family are there. I get to hear what Joe had for lunch. Or see pictures of what’s her name’s kids. But the other 90% mostly is horrible and not worth the effort.
And.. something I forgot to mention is greater happiness and more free time to do things that I enjoy. Since cutting back on my Facebook time, I have managed to get a LOT more done, and have been enjoying life more. Just the time away from the toxicity of Facebook is like a breath of fresh air and inspiration.
So why do I keep using it
So why I do continue using Facebook? Admittedly I’ve stopped using it for the most part. I still jump in every week or so to share some of my work, maybe like a few posts, and say what’s up to some friends. But for the most part I live my online life like Facebook doesn’t exist. Eventually, at some point, I’ll drop it altogether. But for now, it still serves a purpose, despite all the crap they’re shoveling.
I know I am in the minority with this, but it doesn’t stop me from saying it. More than likely all those millions of Facebook users know what they are doing and Facebook is the greatest and I’m just some old cranky dude who needs his meds. But I don’t think so. I think Facebook sucks for the reasons outlined above.
I would love to hear someone argue the case for spending more time on Facebook. Something other than make money would be great, as that’s basically what caused the whole mess to take a nosedive in the first place.