Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

What Now After Facebook?

I thought the revelation of Facebook’s privacy breach last month was bad, but that was it and we’d all move on, which for some people could mean to still just continue using Facebook. However, it seems the bad news coming out about Facebook just won’t stop.

Apart from updating that the originally reported 50 million number of users who were impacted by the breach is now believed to be 87 million users, they’re now saying that most of their 2 billion users are in fact believed to be affected. That’s pretty much everyone using Facebook.

Closer to home, it’s now believed that Cambridge Analytica has Facebook data on 65K Singapore users. That’s not anything like saying most Singapore users are affected, but the number is large enough to be a concern. There are other companies also collecting your data, so let’s not forget that the problem isn’t confined to Cambridge Analytica alone.

All the news surrounding the Facebook privacy breach seems to be just getting from bad to worse. How could there be sucha disastrous privacy breach?

That’s perhaps not completely surprising. After all, how did you think Facebook can command a market cap of US$500B when no one seems to be paying for their Facebook accounts? There’s plenty of value in the company, or at least that’s what some people believe. That value has to come from somewhere.

Are you thinking of leaving Facebook? The problem for many people is that, if not Facebook, where else can they go?

I have no good answers. There are, of course, several alternatives, just not anything so clearly evident that you can put your finger down on it and say that’ll replace Facebook.

I did think a bit about some of my uses of Facebook that is not specifically about social interactions. Like many others, I don’t subscribe to regular printed mainstream media anymore, and I very rarely watch mainstream TV. I get my news online, from various channels, including from Facebook. I’m not sure we can get that many current (active) Facebook users to stop using Facebook, but perhaps it might work to use Facebook less, so as to send a suitably strong signal to Facebook that we are seriously looking at alternatives.

What suggestions do you have to catch trending news without using Facebook? Reddit perhaps?

Just so you know, apart from posting on Facebook, my blog is also posted on Twitter (https://twitter.com/zitseng) and Tumblr (https://www.tumblr.com/blog/zitseng).

A nice news aggregator I use is Feedly. You can use Feedly, or other news aggregator, to watch trending blogs and news sites, or any of your favourite websites, so easily stay on top of any exciting news.

A cute way to figure out what other people reading up to is to watch Google Trends. This is Google’s report of trending searches, i.e. what are the popular things that people are searching. One item that turned up yesterday, for example, is the Scoot bomb threat.

What are ideas have you got so we can all use less of Facebook?

1 thought on “What Now After Facebook?

  1. What I find for myself is that my Facebook usage often has insufficient positive purpose. While it does function as all those things plus some degree of social interaction, it feels like a dice roll each time whether you end up feeling rewarded for the time you spent on it, or feeling like you just completely wasted some time and energy you could have spent on something else.

    So to me using less of Facebook seems like it should be not so much about finding other things to scratch the same itches, but rather just doing less of it so that we have more unbroken time, more unbroken thought.

    But.. it’s a little hard kind of like an addiction. Because there ARE positives that are hard to replicate elsewise. So I’ve been trying to think about how to better use Facebook in order to have more of the positives and less of the negatives. I don’t have a complete recommendation, but I do think:
    – More posting is better as it gives you more ownership of the kind of interaction you’re having, and lets you produce (to whatever extent) vs simply consuming.
    – Drastic skipping / hiding / down-prioritizing posts which inspire any kind of negative reaction from yourself, like envy, regret, etc. Too many people use Facebook as a show-off place even if they might not realize it.
    – Don’t follow up – I haven’t been able to do this myself, but I feel like there is something insidious about the way you are tempted to keep going back to check if someone has responded to your comment or liked your post etc. Going back to check is like an addictive gambling kind of act where you sometimes get a payout but sometimes don’t, and get your emotions swayed accordingly. End result is a big time suck.

    P.S. Thanks for the old BBS days!
    PPS. Have you been following the developments regarding Crostini on Chromebooks? I thought you might find it interesting.

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