Nearly a Week With Less Facebook [en]

[fr] Il y a près d'une semaine, sur une impulsion, j'ai supprimé de mon téléphone l'application Facebook: c'était en effet principalement sur mon téléphone que je me retrouvais à consulter mon fil d'actus de façon un peu frénétique, compulsive. Et ces temps, les nouvelles du monde qui ont envahi "mon" Facebook commençaient à me peser. Le fait d'avoir cette icône bleue sur l'écran de mon téléphone à chaque fois que je l'ouvrais pour faire quoi que ce soit ne m'aidait pas à prendre de la distance. Du coup, j'ai l'application Groupes, Pages, et Messenger -- mais pour Facebook tout court je vais sur l'ordi ou l'iPad, ou dans le navigateur sur mon téléphone (c'est moins "agréable" mais ça marche). Et bien sûr, je peux toujours réinstaller l'application! Mais pour le moment, j'apprécie le retour au calme que cette modification de mon environnement numérique m'apporte.

fullsizeoutput_5386The morning after I wrote my last post about being exposed to too much news, I decided to try removing the Facebook app from my phone. It was a spur-of-the-moment idea, prompted by a few death announcements in my social circle on top to all the difficult world news we’re dealing with nowadays.

The fact that I get “caught up” in Facebook, compulsively cycling through my newsfeed and notifications, has been bothering me for a while. Time flies by and I’m still on Facebook.

Where this happens most is on my phone, particularly because I can carry it around all over the place the easiest. I will stand up and leave the computer. I will leave the iPad lying around somewhere. But the phone is always with me.

And the Facebook app is there, on my home screen, staring at me each time I turn on my phone for anything. And I get lost inside.

As you know if you’ve been following me for some time, I’m super interested in stuff like procrastination, change, habits. And I probably have already mentioned an idea I found clearly expressed on James Clear’s blog: environment is key in shaping our habits. If I think about my “Facebook habit”, clearly the fact that this app is so prominently displayed on my screen is encouraging it.

I remember one step of Note to Self’s “Bored and Brilliant” challenge was to delete your favorite app from your phone for a day. I didn’t like the idea. I preferred to think that I could have the discipline not to check my phone compulsively. And I can. But the problem is when I go to my phone for something else, and end up on Facebook instead — or afterwards.

Anyway. I decided to remove the app for the day, to give myself some space away from all the news. I can still check Facebook on my iPad or computer — or even in the browser — but it’s not staring at me each time I pick up my phone anymore.

Quite fast, I replaced it with the Facebook Groups app. I love Facebook Groups and am active in quite a few of them. They are not saturated with world news or people dying. They are not as active as my newsfeed, and therefore don’t lead to as much compulsive reloading. I also unearthed the Pages app so I could post to my pages. And I use Messenger, of course.

I realised that doing this gave me a breather. So I didn’t reinstall the app the next day. Or the next. It’s been nearly a week now, and I might keep things like this. I’ve been through the browser interface a few times, but it’s less seamless than the app, and so you don’t get “sucked in” as much.

Let me make it clear: this is absolutely not about “quitting Facebook” or anything like that. It is about “less compulsion”. About helping myself spend my time with more decision, less automation. It’s funny, I never thought I would do this. Had you asked me 10 days ago I would have said it was a silly idea. Or that I didn’t want to “cut the cord” like that. And I might roll this change back. But just now, I’m finding that being able to take a few steps back from my “TV 2.0” is really helpful.

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