I recently deleted my Facebook account (personal and blog page) recently. Some people were confused and disappointed with my decision. I wanted to explain my reasoning behind it.
If you are considering deleting your Facebook account and looking for some input or viewpoints to help your decision, this post may be helpful for you. Maybe you are on the fence, or maybe you love your account and just want to know what all the hoopla is about…that’s perfectly fine too..My post is not to convince anybody to do anything. I just want to present my point of view, that’s all!!
This is a non-food related blog post, so my foodie friends, please bear with me…The next post I will be back on the recipes bandwagon, I promise.
Positives aspects of Facebook
Before going too cray-cray on this topic, I want to acknowledge the fact that there are a lot of positives to Facebook. First of all, the amazing outreach that happens during times of crisis – Chennai floods, major earthquakes, Florida hurricanes etc is just incredible. Getting information and help to people in need is one of the most sweetest things a company as big as Facebook can do best, and it is amazing for that.
Second, I am a big fan of Sheryl and Mark personally. I loved ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg and her confidence, just overall can-do spirit is amazing. She is a great role model, very close up there to Indra Nooyi, my all-time favorite. I like Mark Zuckerberg – from the random, bizarre fact that even though he is a billionaire, he wears the same sweat shirt everyday, to his more noble intentions – of wanting to donate most of his money and in general his positive vision for the world. Good on him for that!!
Facebook helped me get the word out on my blog in its nascent stages with zero cost to me. For that I am very thankful.
My problems with Facebook
1) Constraining nature of Facebook and 2) Privacy concerns and 3) Pushy nature of Facebook Let me address them one by one:
1) Constraining Nature of Facebook
Here’s how I view Facebook versus other Social Media Platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc). In my mind, the analogy for Facebook is like attending your cousin’s wedding and meeting your folks after a long time. All of us are on our best behavior, we all look good (posting the best pics of ourselves), talking about our kids achievements, highlights of our lives (my youngest just won 1st place in singing, we just went to France) etc etc…It is very inward-facing.
With all the other platforms, your tastes, your opinions etc are outward-facing. For e.g., with Twitter the analogy is like going to a crowded market, standing on top of a rock with a bullhorn yelling “I hate this politician, best ice-cream ever!!, or Aussie cricket team booo…” whatever you feel like. In response to all this yelling, some people see you and think- ‘what an absolutely cuckoo person’, some are hanging on to your every word, majority could not care what you have to say.
In Twitter or Instagram, I could have one day where I hit 40 likes, just coz I am feeling completely passionate about a cause and find voices that I want to agree and amplify. Other days I could just silently observe and not comment at all.
But Facebook is like a token system. Since it shares everything I like with my friends, I feel like I have a quota of likes that I have to ration out carefully. I had about 150 FB friends (by no means- a lot), but liking everything would make me a douchebag to my other friends whose walls will be cluttered with everything I like. This makes, the platform, for me (again, just my opinion – not a fact) – very constraining.
2) Privacy Concerns
Ever since the 2016 election, I have been hearing bits and pieces about Facebook and how it should have screened fake news information more. But, for me, starting with the Cambridge Analytica news, the straw that broke the back finally was the fact that Facebook scraped my Android phone and call logs.
Now, as one of my friends told me, “Why do you care? We have nothing to hide”. While that may be true, why does Facebook need all that info? It already has my birthdate, my location, my likes, my friends, photos of my children…why does it need more information from me? That does not sit well with me. How have we gotten so desensitized to the point that we don’t care that a company has so much of information on us? The only other company that knows more about me is Google, but that is a whole another story for another day.
3) Pushy Nature of the Platform
As a content creator, I am constantly pushed by Facebook to share and boost my content. It is constantly evaluating me, urging me to respond quickly to users, emailing me to tell my stats, messaging me to boost content. Yes, I could go the settings and reduce all those notifications, probably. But, that’s not its default mode.
Here Facebook is asking me to respond faster so that I can get a badge –
Here it is asking me to boost my the exact same post: (at my main page, notifications tab and side panel)
This does not even include the emails I get constantly from Facebook. Or the fact that it will ask you to go check messenger, you log in and realize that the message is from Facebook again giving you more advice (Sigh!!). While I get that it is doing it for both our benefit…Can you back off a little, buddy? I don’t like all this hand-holding.
Does Less Innovation = Better Use Experience?
I feel that the behavior of each social media platform imitates its founders. Facebook acts like this over-enthusiastic, over ambitious, platform just like Mark Zuckerberg. (In Tamil, we call them Mundira-kottais…:) kind of in-your-face over-achievers. Twitter is like this hippie uncle who wants you to experience life, encouraging you to make your own mistakes and find your true-self like its cool, hippie founder Jack Dorsey. Pinterest is like this very reliable aunt who sits with you in the afternoon, teaches you knitting, while sharing stories from her past, very much like its laid-back founders – Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp.
I get absorbed in political discussions in twitter. I get tons of creative ideas from Pinterest. They have ads too, but they don’t feel invasive to the experience. But, the larger Facebook grows, I feel like they get more (ad viewership) benefit from me than the other way around.
Maybe the other platforms are not as sophisticated as Facebook. After all, Facebook hires top talent and give them a ton of benefits. It needs money to sustain that level of spending/ innovation. Jack Dorsey got a lot of grief, from twitter users, for just growing from 140 to 280 characters. People keep complaining about the lack of edit button in Twitter. Color me naive, but I am happy that Twitter, Pinterest, etc are slow with their relative levels of innovation. Because that innovation came with a price for Facebook and I don’t want to pay that price in other platforms.
The penalty I will pay
For all my problems I listed, I have to admit – one of the most engaged user base for me came from Facebook. People truly interested in food and healthy eating found me and engaged with me on a regular basis. I was thrilled and loved the exchanges.
It was also the 2nd highest traffic provider to my website after Google. So, yes, I am going to get a ding in my numbers the following months. But, If I am unable to break the shackles now, how will I do it when I gain even more followers?
Elon Musk said “A product must live and die by its own merit.” [and not by its marketing]. I guess I will find the answer to the question – Will Upgrademyfood.com continue to grow without the support from Facebook? Let us find out together, shall we? Tune in every week – nay – every day to find out :)!!.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with my opinion? Please comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Facebook’s response to the crisis:
Hard to quit Facebook:
FB collecting phone logs:
Is you smartphone listening to your conversations: