I just can't quit you, facebook ... or can I?
November 16, 2015 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Please help me 1. stop using social media and 2. find other "home" pages for my day's exposure to the world. Complicating factor: I use social media for work.

Please help me break the personal social media habit - especially facebook - while continuing to manage multiple pages professionally. I use hootsuite for scheduling, but for engagement I remain logged in to my personal account and just switch back and forth among a handful of work-related pages. And that's how facebook likes it; you have to have your personal account linked to your business pages. Do I have any alternatives for that?

This is not a huge problem for other social channels - twitter & LinkedIn are mostly industry-related; instagram/pinterest etc. are innocuous.

At least as important as how to disentangle myself is how to fill the gaps of information, connection and entertainment once I'm not using facebook. Mostly information, really. I want to know what's going on in the world, in my 'hood, etc. Is there a go-to site/news/page aggregator that I can customize? And what sites would you recommend I include? WaPo is my hometown paper & I do some longform reading but have gotten very lazy.

I'm on mobile after hours but on a desktop all day so would appreciate recommendations for sites rather than apps.

Nota bene: This is precipitated by having facebook urge me to "Show [my] support for the people of Paris by temporarily updating [my] profile picture," a slacktivism so lazy it made me weep when the actual events hadn't even sunk in yet. Because I knew what would happen next. A hundred people telling each other to pray for Paris, followed closely by calls for vengeance. The last straw was seeing someone dear to me equate Syrian refugees to cockroaches. Hatred + laziness (of others and myself) = enough.
posted by headnsouth to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I do this by bookmarking a group of websites that I want to see every day, and then open all of them in different tabs / layers. Old school, I know, but this is how we used to do this.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:45 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Can you create a second Work Headnsouth Facebook profile and use that as your personal account that is linked to these business pages? Yeah yeah, technically against Facebook's TOS, but amazingly common. The you have a clean, basically content-less Facebook that you're logged into instead of your actual personal one, which has the added bonus of if you need do have someone else use your business account you can give them a password for a day without actually giving them access to your facebook.
posted by brainmouse at 1:46 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I use Google News as my aggregator, and have used brainmouse's suggestion for a "personal" Facebook that acts as admin for the sites I need, but keeps me from wasting time on my friend's status updates. Depending on your self-control, you can also simply log into Facebook and immediately select "use Facebook as" whichever business page, so that your personal stream is hidden from view.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 1:50 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

One thing that I recommend to clients is that first they need to know just how much time they are spending on Facebook and all the other social media sites. I have them install Web Timer for Chrome and just let it do its thing for a day or two. Once they SEE that they are spending 3 to 4 hours a day on Facebook, it motivates them to get the hell off of it, or at least limit their time to, say, 30 minutes a day.

Next, for individual sites, I recommend that they go back to old school RSS with Feedly.
Then, you check Feedly 2 or 3 times a day (for example 9am, Noon, 3pm) and you're done and all up to date.

For News, I would recommend Google News, plug in your zip for the local goodies, and check that twice a day.

This isn't cold turkey, a la Rolf Dobelli, but still allows you to remain informed at the 10,000 foot view, enjoy some hobbies and still not want to burn Facebook headquarters down.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 1:55 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Here's the thing: people who've (reluctantly) ditched Facebook will remind you that you got around pretty ok before Facebook existed. After that vacuum of habit is no longer shocking (takes a week or two), you may find as I did that you know just as much about you-relevant news and social events and whatnot as you did before, but way less about those things that aren't you-relevant.

Example: I know Friend X in real life and like Friend X in real life but Friend X lives very, very far away from me and is more of an acquaintance than a friend. I realized that I always knew when Friend X was having his ~monthly parties because I read alerts and updates about them daily. For years. I've never been and probably never will go because of the thousands of miles between us and only marginally overlapping event interests. I email Friend X when I see something that reminds me of him, or if I'm looking for vegan restaurants in cities where I suspect he's been. But I no longer know diddly about his party schedule, which I can Google at a moment's notice if I suddenly need to! Ta dah, hours of cumulative annual free time and brain space and attention! Thanks for nothing, Facebook!

Example: my partner is a Facebook fiend. He's that guy who posts 20 links per day to inflammatory political articles he hasn't read beyond the headline. It gets nasty if I try to call him on it (usually by asking about some detail in the linked article, then being horrified that he has no idea what I'm talking about, hilarious argument about egregious social media use ensues). My departure from Facebook began with my partner. My first step toward exodus was... gulp... unfollowing my partner. It was the easiest path to peace. And it was a HUGE RELIEF! He didn't notice, I stopped spending time rolling my eyes at his feed, and we still managed to know one another. If that worked, then maybe I could just get away from the whole thing, I thought...

So that's my takeaway. I don't miss Facebook, but I know much less about the people who are marginal acquaintances in my life on a day to day basis. I still consult various sites, Instagram accounts, Twitterers, etc. for news on things happening in the cities and places relevant to me. But no more scattershot feed filtering (basically using Too-Ticky's method to stay in touch with the sites I need and want to see).

Three cheers for everything in your nota bene.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:01 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I left Facebook around a year ago (maybe longer?). I can't speak to managing professional pages linked to you but for local and world news, I use a combination of:

* Google news for general world news and dip off from there to national news outlets I like enjoy (The Economist, BBC, etc)
* Longform and The Atlantic for perspective pieces
* Local media websites in my area for local news. Warning: you'll never realize just how bad local reporting is until you're forced to view their websites.
* If you're already on Twitter, consider following your favorite media publications there to see headlines in near-real publication time.

You ask about how to generally disentangle yourself. That depends on how much you mind being out of touch. Your friends and family will have ongoing conversations you'll know nothing about and you'll miss out on announcements about who got engaged, who got a new job, and who's planning a trip to Peru. On the plus side, you'll have plenty to talk about when you see friends and family face-to-face. Catching up will actually be a lot of fun, unlike now when everything is so flopped out there online that you already know the minutiae of each other's lives right down to when they went to the dentist.

Be aware that, depending on how tightly integrated your friends and family are with each other on Facebook, you may feel (or actually be) left out of things. Do they plan parties and events exclusively on Facebook? You may not get an invite. Don't take it personally, it's just the way it is because that's everyone's common ground. Be pissed at Facebook, not its members.

Cultivate your friendships in other ways. Text, email, email, or call the people you care about more frequently than you have been. Make plans to meet in person to visit and catch up. Facebook makes socializing easier (but not, IMO, better) so be prepared to do some of the heavy lifting for a little while to maintain your connections. Nearly everyone I meet who wants to connect on Facebook is literally unable to come up on their own with another method of staying in touch (yes, it's that pervasive) so make sure you're ready with other contact information you're comfortable handing out.

I left Facebook for similar reasons and, while I have no regrets, here's the one thing I wish someone had told me. It will almost certainly change the dynamics of some of your friendships/relationships. Often for the better, sometimes...not so much. I honestly thought it would be a simple matter of suspending my account and my social life would carry on as before. The exact opposite has been the case and the burden is on me to change the way I think about how I manage friendships. It's also helped me vet friends and potential friends a lot better since it takes a modicum of effort to communicate with me now as well as remember things that are important in my life without the Facebook reminder crutch . I consider that a definite plus.

Once I got away from a toxic Facebook environment that sounds much like yours, I found I liked people in general so much better because I wasn't watching them scream into a void or fabricate perfect little lives via pictures and carefully-crafted status updates. On the flip side, watching every single phone everywhere I go tuned into Facebook so no one misses anything (except the world happening around them) makes me seethe like a 92-year old grumpy grandma. YMMV.
posted by _Mona_ at 3:08 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I access local information by signing up for listserves.
posted by aniola at 3:13 PM on November 16, 2015

This is so WEIRD, I logged into Metafilter right now with the vaguely formed idea of posting an identical question for identical reasons. I haven't tried Social Fixer for Facebook, but I'm going to download it. It should be worth a try at least.
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:58 PM on November 16, 2015

I have no advice but want to note you're totally not alone with your nota bene comments. I am in the exact same boat with trying to figure out how to dial down my social media use in the current tense political landscape and wish you luck doing the same.
posted by mostly vowels at 5:00 PM on November 16, 2015

Can you make a new account just for admining your Pages and then deactivate your current personal account?
posted by Jacqueline at 7:54 PM on November 16, 2015

Set the pages you manage as bookmarks on your desktop, rather than just going straight to Facebook.com, which defaults to your personal feed. Notifications for personal stuff show up, but at least you are starting with the work stuff.

But the easiest way to do this really would be with a work-based iPad that only has the Facebook Pages app and doesn't have the regular FB app. I know you said no apps, but in case you do have an iPad, not just a phone, at work, it may be worth it to attempt to use FB only through the FB Pages app on the iPad while at work. FB Pages doesn't show your personal stuff or notifications, so the boundary is easier to maintain. Then log out of FB on your desktop.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:50 PM on November 16, 2015

I barely use fb for friends' status, and most of my friends are the same. I have fb subscribed to lots of news pages, including from other countries, art pages so I get a steady stream of beauty, political pages, some special interest groups, etc. My complaint is that fb drops pages too easily, and doesn't always show me their content. I re-post lots of different stuff and people occasionally comment in person that they like my fb posts. Basically, fb is a hand-crafted online magazine.

I so agree with you about the profile picture.
posted by theora55 at 3:22 AM on November 17, 2015

Others are covering the social media strategy possibilities well, so I'll focus on how to stay tuned into local happenings in the DC area, which really does help in fostering a social connection to where you live:

WAMU is fantastic, particularly the Kojo Nnamdi Show. It's a great overall pick for combining local & national news.
Greatergreaterwashington.org for issues related to planning/local municipalities.
Washington City Paper is great, both for longform articles and the arts/culture beat (and hard copies are free).
There's also a tiny lovely community radio station in Mt Pleasant.
Finally, wherever you are, there is almost certainly a neighborhood listserv. These will be set up on either Google Groups or Yahoo Groups, and are pretty easy to find by searching your neighborhood name. I find it helps me a lot with keeping up with what is actually going on where I live.
posted by veery at 8:05 AM on November 17, 2015

I quit Facebook a couple years ago after being fed up with the frequent privacy issues and constant inappropriate behavior, which was usually either racist, some other -ist or just disgusting. Not only do I not miss it, I'm hostile to the idea of ever using it again.

As far as news and information goes, my theory is to read one or two sources that represent everything I want to know from that area. More just ends up being redundant. I read the websites of two local papers and I follow 71 total Twitter accounts, and I actively maintain that list. If someone posts too much, or if I lose interest, they're gone. I also occasionally (once per week?) use Flipboard, and I have a couple of news tiles pinned to my Windows 10 Start menu for breaking/big news. I use Songkick for concert notifications, and follow Twitter accounts or email lists for local museums, lectures, theaters, etc. for events. For annual events, I set a calendar reminder. I use Meetup for a couple of hobby groups.

Important news will make its way to you. If it doesn't, then it wasn't that important.

I absolutely support everything Mona said above. I found that I started actively disliking individuals because of terrible things they said on Facebook. I'd just rather not have that level of interaction with people, and instead continue to be present with them in the moment of whatever I'm doing, where basic social graces still exist. Not using Facebook also tells you really positive things about the people who don't mind sending you a quick email or text about an event.

Edit - I HATE using Nextdoor for how racist and paranoid its users are. I DO NOT recommend it for local/neighborhood news. It's like all the bad things about Facebook with few of the good ones.
posted by cnc at 3:46 PM on November 17, 2015

I've made small inroads in my local Nextdoor by making lots of "here's how that comment might be problematic and here's what might be a more useful way of thinking about it" comments. It's kind of fun.

And if you're willing to work on the chaff, it can be a decent way to find out about local information and resources, things like there's a bike lane going in, a new coffee shop opening, a community grant, a depaving party at the local elementary school.

Some communities may also have decent therooster.co and Local Wikis.
posted by aniola at 12:52 PM on November 19, 2015

« Older Misdemeanor sexual battery   |   Eyestrain/squinting temporary relief? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.