How to quit Facebook? One day at a time

Today is December 5. My browser history shows that the last time I logged into Facebook was November 25. Ten days of separation.

Most recent Facebook visit in my history, as of December 5, 2019

Since then there hasn’t been a day when my fingers didn’t itch to go there. It’s been ten days of itching. The strength of the itch is easily on par with quitting smoking.

One substitute has been increased Twitter usage. (Ok, yeah, yes, I get what’s wrong with this).

There have been gains in positive habits. More of my writing is blogging, which is more substantive. For quick breaks between tasks at work I’ve been reading blog feeds via RSS, often from my blogroll. For emotional connections online I’ve been Slacking with friends more; this is intimate and nourishing in a way that Wall posting could never be.

In December 2018 they had 2.32 billion monthly users, of whom 1.52 billion checked in at least once a day. FB isn’t a technology, it’s a behavior.

It’s been a week since I’ve been on Facebook. This blog is helping me stay on the wagon.

My fingers itch for it, but I’ve been able to stay away. It feels like quitting smoking. Cigarettes were a reflex. They were linked to specific contexts, like the waiting-for-the-bus cigarette.

The waiting-for-the-bus Facebook.

It took me many tries to leave cigarettes behind 100%. The fails taught me all the ways not to fail, one painful lesson at a time.

I don’t miss the same overposting marginal acquaintances, day after day. Some of them I was charmed by, but with most of the people whose posts appeared in my feed, we had no relationship apart from the algorithmic sizzle.

I got crushy on one overposting marginal acquaintance – that’s how good the posts were. She dated a slightly less marginal acquaintance who lived across the hall in my freshman dorm. I was not super impressed at the time, but over the decades our tastes must have converged. It wasn’t a sex appeal thing, only the posts.

A few of the people in my feed were real friends, and the social network nourished our relationship in a way that was genuine. One of those folks sent me an email a couple of days ago as a followup to a Facebook thread a month back. I’ll need to develop new lines of connection with the people I care about.

I might even send some letters, that’s how bad things are. At least I still have Twitter.

Wordophobia word of the day: internet (as a verb)

Wordnik is for wordophilia [sic].

vigorish
beatific
girth
improvisatory
obeisance
hotelier
sanguine
ephemera
marginalia
randomalia
liquefy
messily
dailiness
interestingness
lanquidity
prismatic
obsequious
translucent
denouement
qua
detritus

A list of 21 words by aweissman

I wonder if there is a place for wordophobes.

“Wordophobe” is a fine choice for a list of favorite words, or of most feared ones.

Another good non-word is “internet” used as a verb meaning to contact somebody using the Internet. Emailing somebody is internetting them. Calling on the phone is not. DMing is internetting. Knocking on the door is not.

Speaking of turning nouns into verbs, when you do that it is called verbing. A thing about verbing is that verb is a noun, so using it as an action is an instance of verbing. Verbing is verbing.

Clark Kent Enters the Phone Booth

This could be you

A coffee shop is not a bad place to do deep focus work like writing, but you can’t do business calls there. There is too much background noise, the environment isn’t businesslike, you come across as unserious.

I don’t know of any cafes which provide soundproofed phone booths. They wouldn’t make sense, given that the business is really about selling food.

Not a cafe

So why not have standalone businesses which provide public phone booths? There would be a glass door. They would be soundproofed. There would be Internet for video calls. The provider would charge by the minute.

Step inside and travel to other dimensions

What does coworking have over cafes, anyway? Apart from phone booths, how is WeWork really better than Peets?

Bit freshener

Updates updates updates all the time. You have one! Get to work! Did anything change? No! Yes! Who knows? Quick, fix it! Did you break it? Who would know?

Updates are the opposite of bitrot.

The Jargon File, a compendium of hacker lore, defines “bit rot” as a jocular explanation for the degradation of a software program over time even if “nothing has changed”; the idea being this is almost as if the bits that make up the program were subject to radioactive decay.

Wikipedia

Wait, why quote Wikipedia quoting the Jargon File when I can just quote the Jargon File?

Hypothetical disease the existence of which has been deduced from the observation that unused programs or features will often stop working after sufficient time has passed, even if ‘nothing has changed’.

http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/B/bit-rot.html

The important thing is that *bitrot does not exist.* I know that seems insanely obvious. Bits do not rot. They are purely abstract. They live forever. A bit is a bit for all time.

And yet if it is true then what are all these updates doing?


Now get to work.

Feed readers for social bloggers

A blogger’s RSS reader should be directly integrated with their tools for writing posts. Anything you read should have a “Reply” button on it that can instantly generate a properly formatted blog post. That formatting should link to the original and either show a quote or put something meaninful in the link text. The cursor should be left in an edit field ready for blog writing.

WordPress should come with a feed reader.

The feed reader should be linked to an auto-generated blogroll. Anything the blogger subscribes to should be in the blogroll by default, with the option to hide links.

Feedback mechanisms for social bloggers

When I come back to my blog it is undisturbed. Like at home when I come back from work, everything is just as I left it.

Quiet is good in a Moleskine. But what if blogs for personal-level publishers like myself want to be social? A personal-scale social blogger should have a home screen of status updates.

Every time they open their blog they should have access to reverse chronological events. These could include analytics on views, added or lost subscribers, comments, pingbacks, links from third party blogs, or stats on posting frequency.

Gamification. Feedback. The variable reward to complement investment and action.

From Hooked: How to Make Habit-Forming Products

My train of thought is about how dedicated social networking platforms like Mastodon and Facebook can be replaced by blogs. I’m mulling over small practical things to make blogs a better tool for decentralized socializing.

I wonder if the developer community gave up too easily in the face of Facebook. Could relatively light tweaks to the blog technology stack add up to a much bigger community of personal networkers?