Facebook thoughts, 2021 edition

It’s time to metaphorically step back and take a look at Facebook again, that lovable scamp of the internet accused of everything from destroying democracy to poisoning all public discourse.

I do not make any effort to post on Facebook at present. In fact, the only posts that appear there are auto-generated from Instagram, and these consist entirely of photographs I take of flowers, birds, scenery and objects I find interesting or weird. I don’t post pictures of food or myself, though the occasional exception is made.

My time actually spent on Facebook consists of a few things:

  • Looking at the photos posted by a friend
  • Looking over the posts of other friends and family
  • Otherwise, getting out as quickly as possible

The friend’s photos I also see on Instagram (which is a surprisingly terrible site for posting photos, given that its origin was for doing exactly that), so it’s more a review of what I’ve seen, and FB does an admittedly better job at displaying them.

The friends and family list consists of a majority of people who never or rarely post, a few who post semi-often and a couple who post pretty much constantly. All of these groups overlap in that they post little original content—photos they’ve taken, thoughts that have popped into their heads, interesting milestones in their lives, funny things they’ve personally witnessed and so on. Most just re-post stuff they’ve found elsewhere or on FB itself. The whole “share and like” thing. Several of them often share the exact same “funny” story or “interesting” quiz.

It’s all basically a bunch of garbage and I ponder ignoring their posts (which is to say changing the settings to stop showing their posts but not actually blocking the people themselves), but there’s always the niggling thought that they might post something genuinely interesting and would I want to risk missing it?

So FB is pretty much now just a waste of time. It’s not a huge waste of time because I’m typically only looking at it for a few minutes, but I toy with the idea of just taking a good, long break from it and seeing what the consequences, if any, are. I wouldn’t flounce off dramatically or make a big deal out of it, I’d just stop checking it for a few months or something. Treat it as a kind of junk social media detox.

Now that I’ve written this out, the idea sounds more appealing. Maybe I’ll try it and see how it goes.

In the meantime, I really wish there was another social media site that was really just about people posting interesting photos, but I suspect there’s no viable market for that or it would exist already. Alas.

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