Returning to Facebook

Once Again Rubbing Glass for Dopamine Pellets

It was a reflex. My brain constantly aching for that hit of dopamine. Stopped at a red light, Facebook opened. Kid taking a bath, Facebook opened. Laying in bed to go to sleep. Facebook opened.

Scrolling scrolling scrolling. Hitting the Like Button. Commenting on things I shouldn’t.

I grew frustrated with Facebook and deactivated my account back in December of 2015. I wanted to see what the holidays would be like without having white and blue frames burned into my corneas.

It was much easier than I anticipated.

I had no desire to get back on. I didn’t miss Facebook at all.

So it went for another seven months. Life was good.

I finally re-activated my account last week. I’d like to blame the wine or the inscrutable second season of Mr. Robot, but it just kind of happened.

Stepping back into the fray after being gone for so long comes with a new sense of perspective. I’m not using it nearly as much as I used to. It actually feels bad to use it. Like eating a bunch of fast food after a strict diet.

It’s amazing how easily thoughts get inceptioned into your head while scrolling through the feed. Only a few swipes scrolling through my feed yesterday left me feeling stressed out, a little angry, and like I needed to go argue on the Internet. I managed to resist, but the posts that I had a reaction to were cycling through my head randomly throughout the rest of the day.

Be careful about letting other people put thoughts into your head.

It’s horrifying when you haven’t been immersed in it and you see the insanity wrapping it’s blue tentacles around you. It gets into your mind and just metastasizes there. Some awful corrupt file that can’t be deleted.

Stay Frosty.

I’m going to keep my account open for now. It is useful. And they have my friends and family.

But I’m going to remain vigilant about not getting pulled back in like I was before: looking through the feed compulsively, trolling Trump supporters, sharing passive-aggressive articles.

My new approach is to think of Facebook as a mass medium or a polite dinner party at church. No politics. No over the top jokes. Try not to be a jerk or to provoke anyone. Smile politely and make sure your shirt is tucked in.

Keep it strictly life-updates and pictures of kids.

That’s what it’s good at.

I’ll just go to Twitter if I want to get yelled at.

When will Facebook be overrun by the dead?

Adage ran a story today (that I happened to see while deleting their unopened email) about teens leaving Facebook but Facebook still having more teens than anyone else.

Marketing and agency people get nervous about things like this because Facebook is an easy way to put impressive looking numbers on charts alongside words like engagement, social, and digital. Facebook is the beard of the marketing world. Companies that are incredibly traditional in thinking can fool their board memebers and stock holders into thinking they’re with it and engaging with millennials.

Anyways, I thought the Adage story contrasted nicely with a post that Kottke linked to that tries to work out the point at which Facebook has more profiles for the dead than the living.

Based on the site’s growth rate, and the age breakdown of their users over time,[2] there are probably 10 to 20 million people who created Facebook profiles who have since died.

These people are, at the moment, spread out pretty evenly across the age spectrum. Young people have a much lower death rate than people in their sixties or seventies, but they make up a substantial share of the dead on Facebook simply because there have been so many of them using it.

It’s nice to know that we’ll all end up on the winning team.