Like many people, I struggle with attention. Social media has only made that struggle harder, particularly Facebook. From viral videos to blog posts and articles to photos of friends, this site has everything it needs to take me away from more important things for 15 minutes at a time, multiple times per day.
It’s addicting. After the fact (and even during it), you know you’re selling your attention too cheaply. The payoff is far too low.
What’s even more infuriating is realizing this and still finding yourself navigating back to Facebook.com whenever you have a free moment.
Sometimes you get the order you want, and sometimes you have to impose it. Since March, I’ve been imposing order on myself when it comes to Facebook consumption. The app for this is definitely News Feed Eradicator for Facebook, which doesn’t block access to the site but replaces your news feed with a short, inspirational quote.
Since downloading this plugin, I’ve spent less time scrolling through distractions. I’ve spent less time feeding the clickbait journalism machine. I’ve spent less time getting into arguments with strangers.I’ve spent less time being irritated by online acquaintances. I’ve spent less time comparing myself to other people.
I’ve given up my main access to a lot of the things that could make me sick in an internal, moral sense.
Since getting rid of my newsfeed, I’ve spent more time doing projects I care about. I’ve become far less concerned with the opinions of others. I’ve become more focused at work. I’ve created more original content myself. I’ve led a more interesting life. I’ve become more wise about not picking sides or engaging in conflicts in the intellectual realm or in real life.(Unfortunately, I’ve also spent more time on Twitter. ADD abhors a vacuum).
These days I use Facebook primarily as a platform for sharing things I have created, rather than using it as a consumer. It’s certainly not sustainable if everybody quits looking at their newsfeeds, and it can make you a bad friend if you aren’t paying attention in other ways to the lives around you. I’m confident that savvy Facebook users will find ways to make their connections and share their activities outside of he constant whirlpool of the news feed.
If Facebook or another social platform is distracting you, making you weak intellectually or in your skills, I can’t recommend enough that you kill your newsfeed. You really don’t need to know everything happening without you. Just take good care of the things that need you.