My Facebook Experiment (aka Signing Off of Facebook)

So I’m quitting Facebook. Gee Cam, that’s earthshattering.

I’m probably not the first person to do it. Ya think?

I have been finding Facebook very unsatisfying of late. It seems every third post that comes up is an ad. And I find people can be kinda nasty when they comment on stuff. People will write stuff that they would never say to someone face to face. I don’t like that.

And some people post stuff I just don’t find all that interesting. Coming from a guy who can write an entire blog post about pulling weeds, I know, that’s a stretch.

It is a huge time vortex. It is just so easy to waste so much time hoping that as you scroll down you’ll find something interesting.

My displeasure with Facebook solidified when I watched the documentary “Terms and Conditions” on Netflix. It basically explains what you agree to when you accept those terms and conditions that you never bother to read from all the ‘free’ services on the web. As they say, “if something is free, you’re the product.” (My son-in-law provided that quote for me.) And I’m tired of my info being sold. I’m tired of other internet services approaching me with knowledge of me they could only have from another service that I use … for free.

Recently we were visiting with a friend and they were kind of feeling down about their life, especially in comparison to others of our demographic. We all have a tendency to judge a lot of other people based on their postings on Facebook. So think about it. How many people post the stuff that makes them look bad publicly? It always, “Here I am on my cruise,” “Here’s my new sports car,” “Here’s my meal at a fabulous high end restaurant …” blah blah blah selfie selfie selfie. You rarely see a selfie with “Here I am after another bender … wasted another day barfing in the porcelain thing in the bathroom” or “Here’s me leaving the health club for the last time because I have failed miserably at losing weight so I’m just going to head right to the nearest burger place to eat fries!”

So just before I left Facebook I did a little test just to see what kind of reactions I’d get to more realistic postings.

First I posted this picture with the line, “House is falling apart. More of the roof blew off last night. The money pit gets deeper by the day.”

cam fixing roof

Then the next morning I posted this picture with, “Piece of crap truck falls further apart every time I turn the key. I spend more time under the truck than driving it.”

cam fixing trucik

And then later that day I posted my favorite, “Another year with less income and no hope of a vacation. Best we can do is a day in this trailer that our neighbors gave to us. Sigh.”

sad cam by trailer

I figured, what the heck, at least I can try and make other people feel good about themselves before I quit Facebook, because anything is better than what that Mather guy is going through! People who follow this blog or know me I figured would realize that I love where I live, have no desire to go on vacation and enjoy the challenge of fixing stuff … most of the time.

The response from my Facebook friends was quite interesting ranging from jokes about being handy rather than handsome to offers to help out (if they ever won the lottery!) A good friend quickly emailed offering his help with my roof! Both of our daughters messaged Michelle to ask, “What’s up with Dad’s Facebook posts?” It was very much a George Bailey “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment, with me realizing there does seem to be a lot of people concerned about the welfare of others on this grand human experiment.

I got a kick out of how many of my friends “liked” these negative posts. As we discussed recently over brunch with some friends, how do you respond when someone announces a loss (death) on Facebook. You want to show your support but should you “Like” the post?

I’m also trying to bail on the free email service which I use. Once again, if something is free, you’re the product and I’m creeped out when I see what other companies know about me through mails I sent. I have learned so much from Edward Snowdon.

Another thing that annoys me right now is when I phone someone and leave a message, and they respond via email. If I’d wanted to correspond via email I would have. I phoned you. You need to phone me back. I don’t check email that often and some days not at all. Use that crazy technology Alexander Graham Bell invented a century ago. It’s awesome! Then I can hear your voice, and neither one of us will misinterpret an attempt at humor or AN INCORRECT KEYSTROKE!

So if we’re friends on Facebook and you notice that I have defriended you, please don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s me. I bailed on everyone. If you want to be my friend, call me. Most of my friends have my phone number, but if you really want it you can find it on my website. If you phone me and I’m not here, I will phone you back. If I say something inappropriate you can tell me on the phone, and I will apologize.

Another way to communicate with me is to leave comments on my blog. We always read the comments on this blog. Thank you for leaving them.

If I sound like I’m becoming a misanthropic (people hating) hermit, well, maybe I am. But mostly I want to communicate with people I like, face to face. Or at least I want to hear the sound of their voice. And I don’t want someone trying to sell me something based on my history of activity on the internet. I can find enough stuff to buy on my own. All by myself. And as far as I know none of the thrift shops where I shop are tracking my browsing/shopping history to figure out how they can sell me more stuff, or monetize me by selling my history to other thrift stores. That’s something I can waste real time doing all my myself.

 

 

 

20 Responses to “My Facebook Experiment (aka Signing Off of Facebook)”

  • Barbara:

    I am wondering, though, if a knife is not just a knife. You choose how to use it.
    I get a lot of inspiration from the newsletters I subscribed on FB, and I follow people that have a pragmatic, positive approach on life. As with anything I consume, I keep an eye on how much, and what it is doing to me.
    Apart from that, Cam, as always: Thank you for keeping going, Michelle and you are an inspiration!

  • Andrea:

    Oh, how I envy you! I want to give up Facebook, but with my ex being from overseas, it is the only way he and his family seem to know how to communicate. I do have very limited friends (around about 100) and the majority is relatives. I do follow a few gardening blogs that post when they have an update, but I try to stay off of it. It is a time waster and it a friend shares your photo then one of their friends can share it. This becomes a privacy issue. The advertising doesn’t bother me as it’s never anything I would consider buying anyway.

  • Annie:

    Congrats!! I gave up Facebook the beginning of November and I’ve never looked back. I have more time, am happier and more content, I no longer compare life to someone else’s and I mo longer start my conversations with “I saw on Facebook that…” It’s been a blessing to let it go.

  • Blanche Hauch:

    What a concept!!! Oooooh….I could do this too, couldn’t I?
    Thank you, Cam. I love to read about your life, but I sometimes get envious.

  • Ian Jones:

    Glad to hear you are OK. I was really afraid that your lifestyle had taken a serious downturn fortune wise. I look forward to reading your exploits via your blog. I’ll just have to remember to check as I won’t get the updates on FB. Keep on keeping on you misanthropic hermit. Speaking of which, have you heard from Brian?

    Ian-30-

  • I’m not bailing on Facebook… cuz I never joined in the first place 🙂 FB has completed adulterated and corrupted the words “friend” and “like” and I see people in every imaginable place and situation “swiping” their way so quickly through other peoples’ lives. Nothing is honoured in a Facebook world.

  • Mark Mick:

    I suspected something was up with those posts. The RV shot is really beautiful.

    Farewell Facebook!

    Let’s talk on the phone sometime!

    Take care, Mark

  • I thought something was strange with those posts…I thought I’d wait it out and see what was really up:} I don’t blame you for bailing on FB. I would like to do the same. I did tailor my FB to certain people, only tried to ‘like’ things I was interested in…but then the election and government scandal stuff sneaks in and I get irritated and start ranting about it, and then I just look like a negative unhappy person. (but I’m happy damnit! I’m a people person! I have people skills! :}) So, I’d like to do that too, but I’m still sort of clinging to wanting to know what the government is doing and FB is quick to show that (I’m too lazy to search it out I guess). I am confused! And it’s hard to shake it all off, at least for myself. I respect your decision! Sanity and real life! You’re a pro-life!

  • Lisa Pedersen:

    I was wondering how I have so much snow and yet didn’t have any in your pictures!

  • Peter Bellm:

    Hi Cam
    Glad to hear everything is okay at the farm and you are not dreading the lifestyle.
    Just the same old Cam shaking things up.

  • Mike the Carpenter:

    “…and neither one of us will misinterpret an attempt at humor or AN INCORRECT KEYSTROKE!” Perfectly said Cam. Ideal communication is done face-to-face so that facial expression, body language and tone of voice all work together to relay the message. Phone conversations at least convey tone of voice and don’t require hours spent sitting on one’s duff typing at the computer. I deleted my FB account over a month ago because, as you said, “It is a huge time vortex.” I may be wrong but it seemed to me that FB is all about everyone trying to get their 15 minutes of fame, whether their posts were worth reading; or more likely, not worth reading at all. I’ve read more than a dozen good books (including The Sensible Prepper) since I quit FB and couldn’t be happier. Best wishes to you and Michelle.

  • CJ:

    Well that explains why no response to the email I sent you with this link for an all electric, all terrain (except deep water) vehicle for your firewood endeavors (Canadian made as well).

    http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/25/electric-sled-yvon-martel/

    CJ

  • Angela Macri:

    This blog is the best. I actually do have “friends” that share all their realities for better and for worse on FB, the latter with which I hesitate to “like” but liking is an acknowledgment or resonance of/with their post whatever it be.
    Fun and interesting experiment, Cam. I think you are an experiment – wish we all could aspire to same – and a successful one.
    I, too, would like to join the “hermit club”…but then we would no longer be hermits.
    I’ve got your number!

  • david mangen:

    smile always with a mild and joyful countenance.

  • Can relate to the time vortex part of Facebook. As far as all my “friends” posting there mundane things to Facebook, well I mostly just skip over them. What I do like though is that you don’t have to read the bad news that you get about things like shootings, wall street collapsing, etc. Those I can read on a news feed if I want. Give me the cutesy baby animals or the postings about chickens or the occasional helpful things. I find too much of the news is depressing so something uplifting is helpful. I didn’t even know you had a facebook page or wasn’t paying attention. Quite often I go to FB just to find something. Keep that in mind. It is a good way to reach people that only use that is you have something to say or sell. Good luck with your experiment. I will keep following the blog.

  • Tricia Bird:

    Could I love what you do any more? You hit the nail on the head. I couldn’t agree more. Sadly, after 9 years I don’t know that I can quit. You have certainly opened the wound though. There may be hope yet. Thanks as always for your wise words. 🙂

  • Steve Medd:

    Hi Cam,
    I can relate completely to what you say. I thought about doing the same and join your hermit club !
    Steve

  • Robin Bailey:

    I too an growing very dissatisfied with Facebook. Everyone seems to be posting only the fabulous things in their lives. I am tired of seeing Florida (Mexico, Costa Rica) sunrises, sunsets, etc……I am thinking of bailing too.
    Take care.

  • Cam: I can’t picture you as a misanthropic hermit. It appears as though you are simply celebrating your humaness. Good on ya’, mate!

  • Tai Hewitt:

    Man I wondered about those FB posts! I’ve read your blog for years and it didn’t sound like your writings. But I understand and agree with you about FB. This post sounds like “the polite scorn of a Canadian”. Be well and carry on.

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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