Fri 23 January 2015


Social Media Minus Facebook

So, I decided to scrap my Facebook account. It was actually a pretty difficult decision, given that the vast majority of my social life takes place there. Political discussions, online activism (as if that's a thing), and musical promotion all seemed to center around the platform like a swarm of flies on a carcass. I hated facebook. I'm prone to distraction, and sometimes I'd find myself closing a facebook tab, opening a new tab and going right back to facebook. Jesus.

The problem is, it's easy to become totally dependant on it for all your online everything, like I was. Need to chat someone? Facebook. Need to send a large group of people a message? Facebook. Need to vent? Facebook. Want to show your friends a picture of your cat in a Groucho Marx costume? Facebook.

So how does one go about severing the umbilical cord? Well, you could switch social networks. There are plenty to choose from. The problem is Facebook has a virtual monopoly on your friend's social media presence. I decided that I'd attempt to replace the functionality (at least for me) with a variety of solutions.

I tried to stick with command line interfaces where possible, as that's where I spend the vast majority of my time. The added benefit of that is that I'm able to keep a persistent instance of everything running all the time by running my own server and using ssh and tmux to keep things alive.

For chatting, I have integrated IRC, Slack, Google Talk, Twitter, and sms messaging into my IRC client (irssi) using a piece of software called bitlbee. This will let me chat most people I know in realtime from one centralized interface. As far as venting goes, well, that's sort of the purpose of this space. I must admit I am feeling the lack of forum-style discussions that facebook had filled for me. Not sure how to deal with that one. I mean, there is email, but it just doesn't feel the same. There's not the immediacy that's present with facebook. This is one of the things I actually dislike most about facebook. It makes you want a reply - now. It's also hard to guage what topic might interest what people, so sending an email to a huge list of people seems invasive. I guess that's why mailing lists were invented. Maybe I should set one up. I've also set up a disaspora account in the hopes that some of my friends will make the leap. I also have Google Plus, but it's about as populated as diaspora.

All in all, I feel pretty isolated sans facebook, but hopefully I'll come out of it and start having more meaningful interactions (and perhaps become a better blogger).

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