Unless you’ve been blissfully un-involved with Facebook over the past few years, you’re probably aware of the love-hate relationship most of us have developed for the platform. In my case, it’s more of a (grudgingly) tolerate-hate relationship. There are, of course, many reasons for this – data privacy issues, the addictive nature of its design, and fake news being three of the most commonly lamented problems.
It’s become common for many of us to take long breaks from the platform or even delete our accounts altogether. I have been taking regular month-long hiatuses from Facebook, but I haven’t yet pulled the plug on my account for good. A friend of mine recently took the plunge and decided to leave for good, and I admire that decision. It may be my ultimate decision, but since I use Facebook to keep in touch with a handful of far-flung friends and family as well as a place to find support for my attempts to learn Welsh, I’ve decided to try an experiment in gaining some control over my Facebook experience.
To that end, I plan to “KonMari” my Facebook account, pruning it down and getting it under my control. No doubt, many who may be reading this have heard of Marie Kondo and her “tidying” method. If not, to cut a long story short (and to probably slightly misrepresent the method), the core activity is to gather all of your “stuff” into categories and hold each thing. If that thing doesn’t “spark joy” in you, discard it after thanking it for its service (and then, of course, tidy the things you have left, which will probably be more manageable). I don’t know if anything on Facebook sparks joy for me, but I may think more in terms of “contributes something more or less positive to my life” (or “csmolptml” – catchy, eh?). Here is my plan.
- Review all privacy and personal settings to make sure they are serving me well. Change any of them that aren’t.
- Go through each section of my profile and discard those digital items that don’t “csmolptml”. Note: here is where Facebook gives you a little head start. The first thing Marie Kondo has anyone do is to gather their belongings in categories of like with like. Facebook already puts all of your like items together in each section.
- Pay special attention to the categories of “Likes” and “Photos.” Download photos I want to keep but don’t want on Facebook. Delete them from Facebook along with the photos I don’t want to keep.
- Ensure that my friends list is up-to-date. Categorize those who are more difficult to stay in touch with otherwise as “close friends” (or some other similar category) so I see their posts more.
- Ruthlessly snooze accounts and pages that may be oversharing.
- Limit overall time on the site to a half an hour or less per week.
- Logout when not actively using.
If this plan works, and I hope it does, I should get a bit more enjoyment out of the time I do spend there. If it doesn’t work, it may be time to say goodbye to my account after almost 12 years.