Unfollowing all my Facebook friends (Part 2/2)
As promised, I will debrief what I’ve learned and observed after one month without my Facebook News Feed. And because we all want 2017 to be the best year of our short life, we should all observe our environment, tune it, and try to get the best out of it.
The Part I is here and the interlude is here.
Don’t you miss your friend’s updates?
No. My close friends are still here and we still talk to each others. My closest friends don’t really post on Facebook in general. It’s the people I don’t contact often that seems to post more. Maybe that’s why I don’t contact them? I really don’t miss the “news” either. Not on Facebook. Most of them are crazy toxic (like TV).
And about the interesting links shared by people I value? We mostly have the same source of informations and I probably already got that link in a weekly newsletter from my curated list of blogs. If the article really matters, they will send it to me in private anyway, because I do the same for them. I never felt like missing something this past month.
More one-on-one discussions
My first intention with the idea of removing the Facebook News Feed wasn’t to get out of the digital world. It was only to reduce the noise and understand the signal. The signal comes from direct sources like long and private conversations, and personal experiences.
This is why I found myself talking more by SMS, Messenger, and SnapChat (I’ll talk about that later). Maybe it was a special period for me and my communications went up because of external factors, but I feel these “external factors” are not coming from nowhere. I tend to be more intense in my discussions, more curious, I appreciate listening to stories more than ever.
I think I judge less people in general because I don’t have this “ideal version of them” they promote on Facebook. I don’t expect them to be amazing all the time and that’s fine.
I found SnapChat quite useful and interesting. I only have 24 friends on SnapChat. I share some pics and drawing (drawing is fun, pictures are fun, drawing on pictures is awesome to tell short stories). I feel SnapChat is close to our real discussions: you say something, it’s read by the other one, and disappears quickly. It’s like talking: we say something, and sometime forgot about it. That’s why you read more carefully on SnapChat and remember the essentials. There is no searchable history, no archives, it’s real life.
Even the stories doesn’t have the same taste: you share real life pictures, no filters and you don’t expect people to “like” or “comment”. If someone react to your snap it’s private and you will continue in private. Nobody can see how many reactions you have on your stories. It’s personal and you remove this “ego” part of Facebook.
I now understand why SnapChat is so popular. It’s messy, it’s real, it’s authentic. It can also be useful for feedback: snap your last design or logo and ask what people think. The first 10 seconds are the most important ones and you will probably have good feedback.
Less psychological boundaries
We set our own psychological boundaries by watching the world around us. It’s 99% in our subconscious mind. Your Facebook News Feed creates a bubble where you can position yourself in your own boundaries. Is this too dangerous? Too easy? Too stupid? Too smart? Every time we face a new situation, we calibrate our mindset by trying to answer these questions.
What seems to happen when you remove your News Feed is that your boundaries get blurry. When you experiment something new and have no comparison, you stop thinking too much. You just do. It can be bad or good, your judgment is yours. It’s not about what the average social norm think. You should learn by yourself and answer these questions with a free mind.
I don’t do crazy or stupid stuff either. I just feel I’m less influenced by the outside and I slowly push myself further and harder. I try new things, new discussions, new interactions. I still care about the opinion of my peers but I’m less afraid to fail in front of others. I had deep discussions and rejections these past weeks but they are good.
It’s not done.
Facebook is a big first step. I still follow 350 people on Twitter but it’s focus on tech news. It’s really not the same bubble as Facebook (for me). I’m still following people on Instagram but I find photos more inspiring than Facebook updates. It can be superficial but there is less noise for sure. I’ll keep Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat for the moment because they have very different use cases.
I’m continuing my life without my Facebook News Feed and I’m happy about it. Life is real, it can be hard, but I prefer small failures than small wins.
Go outside, talk, fail, listen, learn, repeat.