On This Day: Weaning off facebook

I have grown frustrated with facebook. In this regard I am by no means unique. It feels like it is increasingly common to find friends dissapearing from the site, and many others disengaged completely. I have struggled to stop using it for a couple of reasons:

  1. My family in New Zealand uses it exclusively to share what they and my adorable nieces/nephews are up to.
  2. I have spent 10 years adding stuff to my profile.

Now, for the first point, I believe I can shut down my facebook account and still use messenger based off my phone number, without the need for a fully fledged facebook account. So that’s that problem solved. The second part is trickier. Sure, I can download a copy of my facebook data, but that it lingers on the site has always prevented me from hitting the nuclear button and shutting down my account.

Along came On This Day’.

Being a sucker for nostalgia, the On This Day’ feature gets me to go check facebook most mornings. It does what timehop has long done, but just for facebook content - shows posts from this day in years gone by, in my case, since I signed up to facebook sometime in 2007. Until recently, I used this feature as it was presumably intended - to login, take a trip down memory lane, and then log off again. That was until I realised that this could be the exact thing I need to wean myself off facebook, to reduce in small steps the level of investment I have in the platform until there is nothing left to care about.

So, now, each morning I log on to facebook, and I dligiently delete every native post I made to my profile on this day in years gone by. This little ritual will in approximately 200 days render my facebook profile as useless as a time capsule as it has become in connecteing me to my friends, at which point shutting down my account will come without any of the angst it has done previously.

Facebook seem to have gotten wise to this ploy in the past few weeks - it started by throwing an error whenever I deleted more than two historical posts per day, and advanced to hide the delete option behind a secondary disclosure at that same 3 post threshold. Facebook also seems to struggle with actually deleting stuff from this page, even when it says it has. I’m sure that’s great for whatever metric they’re using to justify the continued investment in this part of the site.

Still, my investment of time is minimal, and the return on that investment significant. Having already unliked’ everything I ever liked, removed myself from every group I ever joined & locked my profile down to only allow for approved posts to show up on my timeline, my facebook profile is close to being completely empty of anything but content automatically posted from other places, which I can turn off at the push of an ifttt button.

Let’s see how this plays out, and how easy it will be to delete myself from facebook once a year of content culling rolls by.

Posted on April 28, 2017

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