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Breaking Up With Social Media. . .Making Up With Social Media

May 28, 2021

It’s all about the algorithm.

Pretend for a minute that you don’t use social media. Okay, maybe think about someone you know who doesn’t use social media. Have you ever wondered how they manage it? Have you asked them?

My guess is that they will say they don’t miss it.

I have many deaf friends. Many of them have been deaf from birth. If you ask them if they “miss” being hearing, they will look at you like you are asking a completely nonsense question. They understand what it means to be hearing. They understand the concept of music. But, most of them don’t “miss” what they didn’t know.

Do you miss not being able to speak Mongolian? (Assuming you don’t speak Mongolian.) Probably not. It’s not something that you probably ever think about.

People who don’t use social media are kind of like that. They don’t miss what they don’t know. It doesn’t come up that often.

I like social media, but only selectively. If you look at the signature block at the end of this post, you’ll notice I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But, if you try to engage me on Twitter, you’ll probably wait a long time for a response. I don’t do much on Twitter. The same used to be true for LinkedIn. I’d check it every few weeks, at most. The notifications would pile up and I’d quickly glance over them and dismiss them all.

I wasn’t engaged.

Facebook was a different story. I like politics. And there were several groups, some about politics, some about comedy, some about Star Trek that I was fairly active in. I would log in multiple times per day. I’d remind myself to go through the notifications in reverse order so I didn’t miss any. I would spend. . .let’s just say WAY too much time. But, I enjoyed it. And it was engaging.

A couple of weeks ago something changed. I kind of “broke up” with Facebook and started dating LinkedIn. If you’ve read my posts from the past week, you know I lost my job. Facebook isn’t going to help me get a job. LinkedIn will.

At first, it was hard. I had several active threads going at any one time on Facebook. But, as I consciously spent less time on Facebook, a funny thing happened. My list of notifications shrunk. What might have taken an hour a few weeks ago, now took 30 seconds. I open Facebook, scan the half dozen notifications and then maybe browse the newsfeed for a few minutes and log off.

What happened?

The algorithm happened. When I was actively engaged, the Facebook algorithm fed me more of whatever I was consuming. And as I engaged with more people, Facebook showed me more people. It’s a feedback loop. When I stopped engaging, the algorithm had less to offer me. And by not making comments, I had less threads to make comments on.

LinkedIn was just the opposite. I now stay logged into LinkedIn through the day. I send in-app messages to people. I comment on articles. My notifications are now filled with relevant stories, or threads based on what I’ve been looking at and commenting on.

The more I did on LinkedIn, the more LinkedIn’s algorithm gave me to do. I would imagine Twitter would be the same way. Because I’m not active on Twitter I don’t get pulled into active discussions on Twitter.

So, if you want to breakup with social media, be it Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. simply step away. The algorithm will react and the less involved you get the less involved you will get.

And if you want to get in touch with me, you’ll likely catch me best on LinkedIn. (At least until we break-up.)

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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