It’s controversy after controversy with Facebook. Whether it’s data leaks, improper use of our data, decisions to create a kids Instagram (and then a reversal), or as a den of misinformation, hate, and anger, Facebook has become one of my least favorite online locations. Because of this, I find myself using Facebook less and less, and looking for alternatives for some of the features I loved.
The Facebook I loved is gone.
I loved Facebook in the early 2000s. Connecting with old friends, keeping up with new ones, and being part of a community meant something to me and was exhilarating. But Facebook isn’t any of those things anymore, at least not for me. My Facebook news feed is nothing but arguments, fringe opinions that I find unfortunate, and disappointment. I never thought I would say it, but I miss the cat memes.
I don’t trust Facebook’s leadership.
There was a time when I would post lots of photos and information to Facebook. Then, there was the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where we found out that Facebook wasn’t handling our data well. Since then, there has been scandal after scandal, most involving data or bad decisions by the leadership. As my trust in Facebook has diminished, so has my willingness to share my data with them.
The role Facebook played for me and how I’m slowly filling that void
Facebook started as a place to connect with old friends. Then, it was a place for community and connection, a place to be seen. Later came the realization that there are some old friends I’m better not connecting with, and being seen (likes, clicks, and views) is overrated. Facebook was a place to give me a quick smile, laugh or feeling of connectedness. As it’s no longer any of those things, I’m slowly filling those voids with better things.
The first part I looked to replace was a place to connect with the people closest to me. I needed a way to connect privately with close friends, family, colleagues, and other groups that matter to me. Since there wasn’t anything out there that would work for that without trying to herd a bunch of cats to join a new thing with a new login, adding complexity to their lives, a buddy and I started something.
My friend Sanjay and I started TogetherLetters to solve this problem. TogetherLetters provides social updates without social media. It’s all email-based, so no one has to sign up for an account or log into another platform. Now I have groups that I stay in touch with and can have more private and meaningful engagements with via Togetherletters.
The next thing I looked to replace was keeping up with a broader group of friends. I’ve found that I like Instagram for that. I know Facebook owns it, and I’m not thrilled about that, but I also put less data into it and see less trash on the platform.
The last thing I needed to replace was news. Getting the news on Facebook was never a great experience anyway. I love to use the Apple News App, Google News App, Flipboard App, and Twitter for news, in that order. I find that bouncing between those things gives me a very well-rounded view of what is going on in the world and access to interesting articles I can share in my newsletter.
Will I ever delete my Facebook account? Probably not.
I don’t think I’ll get to the point of deleting Facebook. But, its role in my life is continually diminishing. There is more value in other places, networks, and honestly, in being disconnected more often.
What about you? Are you on Facebook as much as you used to be? Will you ever leave? Are you replacing parts of what Facebook once was like I am, and if you are, what you are putting in its place?