A Millennial’s Guide to Not Using Facebook

by / Friday, 28 February 2014 / Published in Facebook, Social Media
Last month, I deactivated my Facebook. It was an easy decision: I wanted one less distraction, I know it actually makes people less happy, and the amount of data it’s been collecting about my life in the past 7 years is pretty terrifying.

My friends made fun of me and said I’d be back in a week. And shocker: I was, because I really wanted to find out who the true love of my life was and I needed to share all that aforementioned data with MTV Asia to do so. Also, I didn’t realize that like a million apps require me to use my Facebook info. Plus, I wasn’t able to plan or get invited to any events (the one area Facebook has pinned down). And then there was Tinder.

I accepted the sad reality that I needed Facebook.

But during that highly productive week I was off the ‘Book, I started tearing it up on other channels to get my social fix. So since reactivating I’ve actually been using it less than ever before, because I realized I could get the interaction I crave from Facebook with the privacy it doesn’t provide.

Most of us (I’m looking at you, Mom) have figured out that there are few things in life that should be broadcasted to 700 people, much less shared with MTV Asia. Facebook is a very public forum, and it makes for all kinds of messiness when its not used judiciously. But social media wasn’t intended to be tight-lipped. So we’ve found other avenues to turn to when we just have to shout into the Internet that something has happened to us.

So next time you just have to shout to the Internet, take a second to decide if it’s something you want to broadcast to your mom, ex-boyfriend, boss, and whoever else you felt too awkward to unfriend. And if it isn’t, no need to keep mum- just consult this handy guide.

For all of your pictures unless you’re like, really really sure it will be popular on Facebook
I post my best material on Facebook- usually a funny-ish picture with a caption that really brings those likes in. But for your typical Golden Gate bridge sunset pic or Girls Night Out collage I’m going to go with Instagram because it’s totally ok there to gloat about the superior lifestyle, scenery, and weather of my city of residence.

For drawing mustaches on your selfies and funny/stupid stuff you see
I have this thing I have to do at least once a day where I take pictures from bad angles of my double chin and write stupid captions. That goes to my Snapchat inner circle and they know that 90% of my Snapchats will be really lame. Sometimes I actually capture things that are a bit more creative or off-the-wall, like a crazy person peeing on a wall, and that I will put out to the larger Snapchat circle, because I really want to brighten their day with unusual content. Snapchat has a feature that lets you share a snap with all your friends for 24 hours, and if something REALLY awesome happens, I’ll do that.

For when your friend who works at Google is forcing you to use it because s/he has to
My best friend works at Google and when we both deactivated our Facebooks, we would occasionally post pictures to each other on G+ to keep our sanity.

This is the only use case. I don’t know anyone else on Google+.

For when you fall into the unfortunate role of social media manager at your company
I think of Twitter as primarily for promotional and actually professional purposes. It’s good for professional development & thought leadership, but in my experience it’s less for connecting friends than it is for reading news or following a topic.

Apple Photo Stream
For pictures you want to share with your friends, kind of like you used to do on Facebook before you wised up
Since no one posts albums anymore, sharing photos is one less thing I rely on Facebook for. I have streams set up for different people that lets us share, comment, and like photos privately. It’s so easy to drop pictures right away, so we don’t have to hound each other for pictures.

Then there’s some things that we instinctively know do not belong on any social network. But wait! Now there’s a way to share those too, thanks to a host of new social sharing apps that are totally anonymous.

For when you see a successful startup CEO acting like a d-bag
Secret is gaining traction among a select set as a source of gossip about the Silicon valley startup scene. It allows users to post anonymous broadcasts sent to their contacts who are also using the app. If a secret is highly liked, it can be shared with a larger audience.

Personally, I am kind of used to seeing successful startup CEOs act like d-bags, so I don’t bother with it.

For when you’re in a room with tech-savvy friends who actually use this app and you fart, but you’re a good guy and want to own up to it, but it smelled really bad so you don’t want them to know it was you
WUT sends anonymous broadcasts to friends who are on the app, with a Snapchat-like twist of disappearing. I haven’t farted in a room with my friends in a while so I haven’t been using it.

For when you want reassurance that you’re not the craziest person in a 15 mile radius
Whisper shares anonymous posts from users in your vicinity. Think of it as a blend of PostSecret and Craigslist- full of weirdos. So far, I haven’t had the urge to share anything on this platform, but it’s an interesting read if I want to start feeling creeped out about people in my neighborhood.

I realize it’s completely ridiculous to be on as many social networks as I am. I frequently have conversations with my friends that begin via text, transition to Snapcat, cruise over to Gchat, and end via Instagram post. But my generation is piloting the next big social media thing. Or things- it might be that we just need to split our digital footprint lest our most personal aspects of our lives be owned by the same behemoth. We’re aware of how powerful Facebook is, and that awareness makes us much less comfortable using it as it was originally intended.

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