Well, having failed to stick to my earlier promise to spend less time on Facebook, I’m having another go. I don’t want to abandon my account completely but this time I’ve changed my password to something I don’t know. We’ll see if that helps!

I think the credentials that I use for cross-posting from my blog will still work. This will be a test!

The problem is that many of my friends (the European ones, anyway) are talking about nothing but Brexit, and I find it hard not to join in. (I’m also more moderate on it than some, and this distresses some of my friends who hold strong views in either direction!)

There’s a very good reason why polite society has always discouraged sex, politics, or religion as topics for the dinner table. Few people appear to great advantage when discussing them, and it’s very easy to alienate accidentally those with whom you would otherwise have no disagreement. I think it’s wise to absent myself from the table until other topics return to the fore. God knows there’s no shortage of Brexit news everywhere else!

Since Facebook uses clever systems to order and filter the posts it presents to you, it would be nice if you could tweak it to promote or demote particular topics. “Show me more/fewer posts like this.” I remember a few years back a friend complained that too much of my output concerned Lord of the Rings, for example. But I don’t think such a filter system exists, so if you want to stay on the system you’re left only with the option of un-friending people: something I don’t want to do. I just don’t care, for example, about discussions about Icelandic football teams and can’t contribute anything useful, even if I may value the participants’ views on everything else. They probably feel the same about my views on Peter Jackson’s movies.

Now you might say that coping with this is just part of normal social interactions at the pub. But Facebook is like a large pub where you have to hear everybody’s conversations at the same volume without the normal subtle clues that give hints about the hearers’ enthusiasm. And since it only offers you the option of chucking people out of your pub, I think, I’ll take the alternative of stepping outside for a bit until things are a bit less smoky! I’ll be back soon, I’m sure. Have fun while I’m away!

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I use “see fewer posts like this” to tailor my facebook feed – and I only ever use “most recent” rather than “top stories”. So I think I may have a less bad experience…

Ah – thanks, Laura! I didn’t know about those!


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