Unfollowing all my Facebook friends (interlude)

Damián Le Nouaille
4 min readDec 11, 2016

I recently wrote an article about my Facebook experiment: Unfollowing my Facebook friends (Part I). I recommend you to read it before going further but it’s not mandatory. I called this post “interlude” because the Part II will contain more details and feedback after two weeks of experiment.

The Part II is here.

Facebook is safe

Facebook is a socially accepted place where you can add someone as a friend because you probably have one mutual friend, you can slowly get closer and you can start chatting. People will accept you because it’s secure: the mutual friends are the invisible guardians of your communication. You have your real name on Facebook, real pictures, and real activity. The Facebook environment is one of the safest place on earth. Your personal failure will never affect you because you can’t fail on Facebook.

Have you ever thought about that?

What can go wrong on Facebook? A dirty picture? Can be removed and moderated. A shitty article you post? Nobody will like or comment and you can remove it. Someone spams you? You can block the profile. Someone does not answer your messages? You can wait but nothing bad can happen.

You can tell me stories about people doing shit on Facebook but I’m talking about the “mature” population who don’t post weed and naked pictures of their professors on their walls.

And then you have the Facebook Orchestra turned on: She/He likes my post and comment on “this” so this might send me a “message” to talk about this later. She/He is going to this event and it can be a chance to see her/him. I can go on and on about the existing Facebook mechanisms to create invisible and subtle connections without having the opportunity to fail. Facebook removes all possible rejections and they work hard toward this goal (News Feed filters based on complex algorithms, perfectly timed notifications, geolocation, etc).

Why we keep reading the News Feed?

In real life these guys are cool

Most of the time you’re reading the News Feed because:

  1. You need to demonstrate some value by posting, commenting, sharing content. You need this “boost my ego shot”. Feels good to have someone mentioning you in a comment or get likes on your latest trip to Thailand.
  2. You’re randomly looking for informations that can lead you to get closer to someone. It’s pure stalking. You’re not actively searching but your subconscious mind will probably focus on a particular activity because you want to know more about it.
  3. It’s safe and nothing will hurt you. How many times have you heard “I’m having a break so I’m reading my Facebook feed”. Who wants to be hurt during a break? It’s part of your comfort zone. You’re probably saying to yourself “I’m normal, people do kind of the same stuff as me”.
  4. You calibrate yourself. It’s a kind way to say you want to check if some people are still doing boring stuff (you feel on top). And on the other side you want to see what “smart” people are doing/reading (you want to do things like them).

It’s the hard truth. Unless Facebook is your primary tool (Social Media, etc), at the personal level, it triggers the same thing on everyone. That’s why they have 1.2 billion users. It’s not because “It’s cool”. Facebook was never cool. It was just an accepted way to attract people, demonstrate value, and talk without any fear of rejection. Which is what 90% of people are looking for and will always look for.

By the way, if you’re trying to do the next SnapChat or any B2C massive app: look for these feelings and work around it. Don’t try to create new habits or change people minds. I’m not personally interested in mass market apps but just a random though.

It’s simple but it won’t be easy.

You need to deeply understand your fears and emotions to overcome your Facebook hidden addiction. It’s not about quitting the “Digital World” or doing extreme choices. It’s about understanding what drives you. I think I just don’t want a safe environment. I need to experiment and crash. Nothing dramatic will happen anyway.

If Facebook provides you all the informations you need to talk to people or demonstrate some value, you will loose curiosity and intuitions. You probably know this saying: “You’re the average of the 5 people you hangout with”. In our current digital world:

You’re probably the average of the 50 people Facebook allows you to look at.

I don’t want to live in this bubble. I want to be surprised by life. I like my friends more than anything and Facebook doesn’t have to play a role here.

Demonstrating your value and being around people you value should be done the hard way. You will learn a lot from small rejections and less from an omnipresent safe environment.

Before Part II

You might have a different point of view and use of Facebook. You might live isolated and Facebook created new connections and opportunities for you. I’m lucky enough to not be in this scenario. If you’re reading this, we’re probably the 5% of people on the planet having this “problem”.

I encourage you to experiment this unfollow thing if you need it. The Part II will contain more details and probably some logistic issues I will face in the next days by not being aware of what’s happening in my “friend circle”.

We’ll see.

You can read the Part I here and the Part II here.