Tuesday, February 20, 2018

One Year Later

One year ago, I decided to get off of Facebook.

It wasn't a carefully thought out decision. I did not weigh the positives against the negatives. I just stopped.

There were some signs of this for a few years. In mid-2016, I wrote:
A few years ago, Facebook was a source of joy in my life. I was actively rediscovering friends who had slipped away over time. Reconnecting, discovering what they were up to, and filling the gap between where we had left and found each other again, ushered in a sense of everyday freshness. 
Over time, as a billion people got onboard, the rate of rediscovery diminished, and so did the excitement of eagerly checking new notifications. These days, most of my Newsfeed is cluttered with click-bait, unscientific bullshit, flashy headlines, and "Hallmark" greetings.
Here is a recent Vanity Fair article that touches on similar issues.
During the past six months alone, countless executives who once worked for the company are publicly articulating the perils of social media on both their families and democracy. Chamath Palihapitiya, an early executive, said social networks “are destroying how society works”; Sean Parker, its founding president, said “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” (Just this weekend, Tim Cook, the C.E.O. of Apple, said he won’t let his nephew on social media.) Over the past year, people I have spoken to internally at the company have voiced concerns for what Facebook is doing (or most recently, has done) to society. Many begin the conversation by rattling off a long list of great things that Facebook inarguably does for the world—bring people and communities together, help people organize around like-minded positive events—but, as if in slow motion, those same people recount the negatives.