Facebook and Me

I’ll be honest: I’m getting very close to just giving up on Facebook. Cory Doctorow had a great essay the other day about how websites go from being useful to abusive to dead (a process he termed “enshittification,” which is pretty accurate, if crude). It’s worth reading the whole thing, but in a nutshell, he describes how first websites focus on providing as useful of a service for as cheap as possible. The site needs to set itself apart from everything else out there, and so it focuses on attracting users.

Once it has those users, it monetizes them in order to attract investors, because sites ultimately want to make money. Once it has enough investors, market share, and advertisers, then it shifts to getting as much money out of them that it can. Raises advertising rates and sales fees. This continues to the point that everything falls apart, because there comes a time when people aren’t willing to keep doing business with them.

That’s where Facebook is with me right now. I’ve held on for much longer than many of my friends, mainly because I used FB as a vehicle for posting my blog, and because I enjoyed seeing updates from my remaining FB friends. It’s also still useful as a place to organize groups and events. But even that is becoming less and less helpful.

Facebook just doing what it used to do. I have no real control over what I see in my feed, and it’s getting dominated more and more by ads and promoted posts. Likewise, FB is showing my posts to my friends less and less. I don’t get updates about events or group postings unless people are paying for those to appear in my feed. It doesn’t help that so many people left because they were sick of what FB was doing to their relationships, and how toxic much of it was becoming.

The only thing keeping me around right now is that I’m not sure where else I’d go. It’s a real shame, because the thought behind the original Facebook was a good one, and honestly, it’s one I would consider paying for out of pocket, so that I could stop being the product and instead just be the customer. Then again, I don’t know how many other people would be willing to pay $5/month to get just the updates from their friends that they want. A social network only works if there are enough people on it to make it social.

Really, I’m not looking to meet friends online. I’ve got friends in life. I want to keep in contact with them, and FB was a good tool to do that. It’s becoming increasingly clear that it won’t always be.

Ironically, I’d love to have other people’s input on this, but most of the people who read this read it on FB, so it turns into an echo chamber. How can I find out what other people do to keep in touch with folks if I can’t get their attention to ask? But it’s still worth a stab.

Why are you still using Facebook? What else are you using instead of it? Is it a place that does more than videos and/or pictures? I’m a big fan of the written word . . .


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