How to use Facebook without using Facebook

It was a cold, dark day, November 24, 2006, when I joined Facebook and posted this gem:

I’m assuming it was cold and dark since it was November. The date is the day after Thanksgiving, so I’m blaming the turkey.

For several years, it was all fun and good, but I’ve become disenchanted with FB over the years. I’ve moved to my personal site for sharing and only push links out to social media. The final straw was Facebook’s decision to let anything go in political ads. These can be total fabrications and Facebook will let them run. I will not promote such terrible behavior.

If you are on Facebook, know that ads you see and posts that are shared are not what they seem. These posts are designed to enrage you for maximum engagement. They are not for information. You are being treated like a trained dog, being offered treats for likes. Facebook wants you to keep scrolling.

Unfortunately, I still need to have my account and I also have others that send me messages through Facebook. Over the last year I’ve been working on ways to use Facebook without being on Facebook.

For starters, this will not allow you to see any friends posts. Since Facebook has changed their algorithm to keep you scrolling, the only winning move is not to play. I rarely go on FB anymore, and I’m happier for it. If you want me to see what you write, create a blog and let me know. I’ll subscribe to it!

Messenger notifications are also hit and miss. I don’t like Facebook giving me ads based on what I say in a chat anyway, so I don’t use it and I don’t recommend you use it either. There are better options.

Filtering Facebook notifications

The first step is to set up a filter for emails from Facebook. I use Gmail, so I created a filter that will take emails from Facebook, skip the inbox, and label them.

For bonus points, you can set the label for your FB notifications to only show if there are new emails. Out of sight, out of mind.

Tame FB notifications

The second step is to get Facebook to only send notifications if someone messages me or if I’m mentioned. Go to your Notifications page and turn off almost all notifications. This is a good time to trim down the notifications from Facebook.

To set notifications, go to Settings (the little triangle in the upper right corner) and click Notifications on the left side.

I turned off everything except for the first two, Comments and Tags. There isn’t an option for Messenger, but as of December I was still receiving notifications for new messages.

FB also doesn’t seem to send out notifications when someone comments on a thread you are in either, which is unfortunate. See that Updates From Friends notification? Wouldn’t it be nice to get those in your email? Yes, it would be, but FB will only send them to your logged in browser.

Enjoy life!

Go, enjoy your life! The internet is a great resource, and you are in control.