Yesterday at the Paris Ruby Meetup (ParisRB), one of the organisers (Thibault Assus) did a talk about how to receive less emails and reduce “social noise” in your daily routine. He covered how to do smart email subscriptions with Unroll.me and why you should disable your mobile push notifications.
But the interesting topic was Facebook. He suggested to unfollow all your contacts (not unfriend). This will basically empty the News Feed part of Facebook. Which is the most active part and where you can stay scrolling to the infinite.
Why not removing my account?
Keeping your Facebook account active lets you add friends and chat with them on Messenger. I use Messenger a lot and I don’t think switching to full SMS or WhatsApp is possible for me today. Most of my friends and groups are already settled on. In addition I use Facebook to login on some websites and as a developer, it’s still useful to have a “real” Facebook account (testing API with real data, etc).
There is an app for that
I obviously don’t want to click on my 370 Facebook friends and unfollow them manually (and you probably have way more “friends” than me). I found Toolkit For Facebook (a Chrome Extension) that did the job. Just go on the “Removal” tab and click “Unfollow all my friends”. You will see something like this:
Some extra steps
Unfollowing all your friends will not entirely clear your News Feed. You still have to unfollow all the pages you like and all the groups. Took me 15 minutes. Then you have to remove the ads when they appear (“Hide this ad” in the top right corner). It depends on your activity and profile but Facebook is very pushy. You will always have something in the News Feed even after unfollowing the planet. Keep removing stuff manually (“Hide this post”) and after 24h you will be ok.
You also have to go to Ad Preferences and remove all the shit.
That feels so good. I don’t feel excluded. I just think I will go for the people or informations I want but I will not miss any important stuff. My friends will still invite me to their events, mention me in comments and I will receive these notifications. I honestly do not have so much of important notifications, maybe one or two a day.
The activity in my News Feed does not have a direct impact on my life and my relationships. I think that will be cool to talk more directly with my friends. It can really level up the discussion and I will hear a lot of “But, you haven’t seen my post on Facebook?” I will be glad to say: “No, but go ahead and tell me the story yourself”. That will be refreshing and I might have more interesting talks than “Yep, I saw it, so cool”.
I don’t post a lot on Facebook myself but I don’t plan to stop it either. I’m always happy if some of my friends find interesting content in my feed but it’s up to them. If you unfollow me, I can guarantee that you won’t miss important stuff.
It’s my first 24h without News Feed and I’m amazed how much I open Facebook per day. I probably got the “Oups, the News Feed is empty” moment 4 or 5 times today (on both desktop and mobile).
I’m planning a Part II after two weeks without News Feed. I’m really experimenting. I might fail and undo this but I’m trying to be honest with myself and I think it’s a valuable experience anyway.
Let me know if you want to try and it could be fun to compare your feedback and feelings.