Misc.

Weird Facebook realization/ newsfeed exercise

So there’s always a lot of talk these days about social media, etc… it’s evil/ it’s valuable!/ it’s terrible/ it’s great! Seems like many people want to cut back their use, but yet, it’s addicting. I am certainly guilty as charged, too- I feel like I still look at Facebook way more than I should, despite efforts to reel it in.

I’ve noticed lately that oftentimes, when I open the app, it seems like I have to “scroll” a while before I find anything actually interesting….or I open it and then end up closing it right away, because it just kind of feels boring. (But yet I find myself opening it again 25 minutes later. Why, Mark? Why?)

Clearly, there are more ads than there used to be, but I decided to slow down and really look at what is actually coming through on my newsfeed, one by one. (I’ll admit- I spend zero time “curating” my Facebook feed, so maybe a little of this is my fault. I can/should probably go in and “unfollow” certain random pages that I’m not actually that interested in….but I don’t.)

Image result for Facebook. Size: 101 x 101. Source: www.newdesignfile.com

What I found SHOCKED ME! Below are the first 15 posts that showed up in my newsfeed this morning, in order:

  1. A post from our church about Thanksgiving
  2. A notification that a friend “likes” LL Bean (and then an ad for LL Bean)
  3. An article from some entertainment website that I would never read
  4. Reels (??? What even are these? I’ve never watched one. They look dumb.)
  5. Post from a local Resale group
  6. A notification that a random past co-worker who I haven’t talked to in at least 7 years “likes” the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (+ ad)
  7. Ivan’s friend’s mom shared a click through post, in Spanish, about some weird psychology thing…kept scrolling…
  8. A post with a meme from the movie Shawshank Redemption, from some website I guess I must have “liked” at one point? Didn’t care about that either.
  9. Another Resale site post
  10. An Adidas ad
  11. A post from a Facebook group from someone who sells those nail polish strips that I guess I’m in, but that I’m not active in
  12. A previous coworker telling someone I don’t know “happy birthday”
  13. Someone updated her profile picture
  14. A past coworker likes the shoe brand “Allbirds” (+ ad for Allbirds)
  15. Someone added a fundraiser to their “story”

I guess I’ll stop there, but…..what the heck?!?!

Seriously, read those over. That is the biggest bunch of garbage if I’ve ever seen a bunch of garbage! In the first 15 posts, there was literally not one actual post of any true substance from a real friend that I cared about (minus our church, if you count that).

The scary thing is- how many times do I look at Facebook in a day? How many times am I scrolling and scrolling past all that nonsense and garbage? Sure, eventually there is usually some interesting/useful stuff mixed in, but apparently it’s few and far between! (Or more so than I ever realized….)

I don’t know if this is a new algorithm or what. Or just my account? I do not remember it being this bad in the past! Or are people just posting less “real” content, so Facebook has to resort to filling the newsfeed with something?? But I have over 400 Facebook friends- surely someone shared something more interesting than what I’m seeing.

WHAT A WASTE OF TIME! Eek. This is rather disturbing. (And, I actually did this exercise last night too, but didn’t record them- and I found very similar results. So I don’t think this is a fluke.)

Anyone else use Facebook? I’d be curious to know what your newsfeed looks like.

This exercise feels like some pretty good motivation for me to SHUT IT DOWN. Ha.

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for Christmas lights in my office! Ho ho ho.

12 thoughts on “Weird Facebook realization/ newsfeed exercise”

  1. Ooooh this is super interesting! How is that supposed to keep you engaged, I wonder? I don’t really use Facebook, but the few times I’ve logged in over the past year, it is incomprehensible to me. So many things I don’t care about and news posts that I didn’t sign up for.

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    1. I know!! Yet for some reason it still seems to pull me in, so I guess there must be just enough interesting stuff to keep me clicking!! lol! Those little surprise dopamine hits must get me. But this is rather eye opening.

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  2. So I just did this exercise to see what I’d find and my news feed is quite different. I did have some posts from a buy/sell group that I’ve been active in lately so it makes sense that those are showing up in my feed. Other posts were updates from friends, although one there were 3 posts from one friends in my first 15 items in facebook.

    I do not use Facebook all that often, though. I mostly am still on there because of buy/sell groups which are very useful in my current stage of life! I love to get rid of stuff as Will outgrows them and I like to sell them on Facebook so I know they will actually be used versus donating to goodwill and wondering if it will go in a landfill. I am certainly not making money on what I’m selling but it’s not a huge time suck so it’s worth it overall. Like I just sold a newborn Christmas lot of sleepers and other Christmas stuff – for $5! But I had a nice exchange with the woman who purchased it as her baby is due the day before Will’s bday. My family also has a private facebook group so I need to stay on FB to have access to that. That’s where my siblings tend to post updates/photos. I prefer that to a group text so another reason to stay on FB.

    But overall, I much prefer IG! I don’t use it all that much either, though. My sister posts photos/videos of my niece pretty much daily so that is the #1 thing I look at on there. I am going to take a social media break after Will’s birthday, though. I need a couple of solid breaks twice a year – my next one will be Lent. It’s always good to take a solid break so I can break any mindless scrolling habits! Although setting the strict limit of 20 minutes/day between FB and IG has really cut down on my social media usage.

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    1. I was wondering about that- maybe it’s because I look at it too often! 😬😬I feel like if I didn’t log in for a bunch of days, I would probably have real, more interesting posts to “catch up” on. So maybe this is just the filler posts? But I do feel like it’s so random and so many things they show me are from people I’m not even close to, OR have many friends in common with! It’s weird. I especially dislike seeing other people comment on some other strangers posts… sometimes you’ll see a fb friend comment something like “congrats!” Or “ sorry for your loss” to someone you don’t even know. And then it feels like they are just trying to click bait you! Like it’s all about things that could be considered “drama” – new job, baby, a death, etc. Kinda creepy. Also, last night I was texting with a friend who had mentioned she was going to buy her niece a huge stuffed bunny rabbit for Christmas in the text message. A little while after that, I clicked on Facebook and I had an AD show up for stuffed animals! And a stuffed rabbit! So that really creeped me out, because it was like they were pulling info from my texts to decide what ads to show me??? Creepy…

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  3. I deactivated my account in Jan. 2021. I’ve signed in a few times since then but found it’s the same junk! I’m totally over it. I’ve found more time to read, think. etc.

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    1. “Time to think” …. Yes!!! I tend to use Facebook in little snippets of time that I justify I couldn’t really be doing much else anyway (like when I’m waiting for the boys to get out to the car in the morning, for example). But why the need to “fill” every second with something?! Could totally just sit there and think instead! 🙂 So you don’t feel like you miss it at all??

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  4. You’ve already seen my shocking admission earlier today – I have NO social media accounts.

    I did have Facebook back in university…like waaaayyyy back when it started. And I loved it. I’m an introvert, but Facebook allowed me to cast a wider social net. I posted pictures and tagged friends and I felt like I was living life to the fullest. Social media But then I met my husband (a technophile) and he raised a whole bunch of red flags about both the technology AND the social constructs it represented. In the midst of our engagement I signed off from Facebook…and I just never signed back on.

    A few times over the years I’ve really wished I had an account; I know I miss out on reconnecting with old friends, and one of my best friends is constantly finding amazing items on the Buy/Sell pages. #FOMO

    But…here is how I look at it. Would Facebook/Instagram (insert other social media platform) be a net positive or a net negative in my life? I can 100% say it would be a net negative and I don’t think I’d be good at moderating it. Some people are, for sure, and to them I think social media is great. It provides connection and inspiration. But it’s very hard to curate things down to just the positive elements of social media.

    And for that reason I think, for the majority, social media is a net negative. It either drives comparison (usually unhealthy, since things are so heavily filtered – both literally and figuratively) or bad habits (I’m going to buy a lot of things so I can stage my home to look perfect on social media – extreme, likely, but likely factors in to some degree for a lot of people?) or drives guilt (I can’t believe I’m wasting so much time).

    Again – I think there is LOTS of good in social media. It can be inspiring. It can foster closer relationships. It can be a great outlet for people to share. But it hasn’t been part of my world for over 10 years and I think (can’t quantify this of course!) it has made me happier.

    I know this comment is already ridiculously long and I have very mixed emotions about Cal Newport’s content sometimes, but here are the (hopefully accurately verbatim) notes I wrote down from his Digital Minimalism book:

    – People don’t succumb to screens because they’re lazy, but instead because billions of dollars have been invested to make this outcome inevitable.

    – The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerdy gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T–shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking. Philip Morris just wanted your lungs. The App Store wants your soul. Bill Maher

    – Digital Minimalism: A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that! I actually read Digital Minimalism this past year too and have notes somewhere also… I had always intended to do a post to sort of “document” my main takeaways but I never have! It’s so interesting to hear your social media story. I get so stuck on the whole topic, because like you said, there are many things I do enjoy. And I actually feel like I learn of different ideas (not necessarily earth shattering, but things like clothing brands/gift ideas/ vacation ideas/local things to do/whatever) through ads and recommendations from other people that sometimes I feel really come in handy! I really hate the whole comparison piece of it, the negativity, and especially the addiction though!

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  5. same here!!!! I stopped opening Facebook unless I want to connect with someone its just too time wasting to find anything useful. instagram is a bit better but not too far. thus, minimizing checking throughout the day is my new habit.

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  6. My feed is definitely less depressing than yours, but I did unfollow a lot of people a few years ago, and also you can opt out of seeing some ads. I don’t check 5 times a day anymore, maybe only a couple of times a week because a lot of my family and friends use it as their primary communication channel. 😀 I wish I didn’t need it to keep in touch with people, but I do in this day and age and also being so far away from where I grew up and where my friends live. So to give you an idea of my feed this morning:
    1. My brother sharing that a favorite restaurant is opening near where he lives.
    2. Black Friday ad for a makeup company that I don’t mind seeing
    3. An article about expat taxes where I live
    4. An article from the Guardian about some cultural topic
    5. Suggested pages of kennels which breed Havanezers (the breed of my dog). This is delightful because I see pictures of cute dogs.
    6. A friend sharing pictures of the Kew Gardens in London.
    It’s not depressing at all! My husband has the same problem as you and I also told him to unfollow things you don’t like and I think it will definitely improve.

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  7. Oh and my husband used Facebook to find my friends so he could organize a surprise Zoom party for me. So as much as I hate the negative side of social media, I am so thankful he was able to connect with them too, and I in turn was super happy to chat with my friends on my 40th birthday… really mixed feelings on this one because of all the negatives already mentioned by people above.

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    1. Interesting about your husband!! I wonder based on what you are saying if part of my issue is checking “too much”, so my feed is sort of out of good content to show me?? Sounds like you check much much less frequently than I do. How often does your husband check it? Love that about him finding your friends on FB- that is so cute!!

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