BAN #65: Goodbye, Facebook

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Frank KaneNov 27Liked by Phil Plait

A big reason I subscribed to this newsletter was so I could follow your work after my own planned departure from Facebook and social media in general. After extricating my business from it by the end of the year, I'm also pulling the plug. It's not a healthy thing for individuals or for society.

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Phil PlaitNov 27

I hope that doesn't adversely affect your business. If a bunch of actual companies publicly pulled the FB plug we might see some action.

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Frank KaneNov 27Liked by Phil Plait

I have one group with 50,000 members in it, but it drives almost zero sales. Paid ads on FB just lose money; "likes" aren't worth anything. So yeah, I don't think it'll affect business - and I suspect many other businesses are going to reach the same conclusion. I don't know if that will spur FB into action, or just make them even more reliant on political spending.

The goals of science communication are different, of course. But as you pointed out FB hobbles your reach, and you end up just preaching to an echo chamber anyhow. I bet your in-person and TV appearances have a much bigger impact when it comes to inspiring new people. Heck, I ended up buying a nice telescope and starting to do outreach at local star parties after seeing you talk on last year's Star Trek cruise. Social networks aren't needed to have a network effect.

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Phil PlaitNov 27

You did all that after the cruise? WOW. That's wonderful! Doing outreach online is fun, but it can be hard to gauge the effect. Giving talks you get an immediate response (applause, Q&A after) but the longer term effects may be invisible. It makes me very, very happy to know this happened after the cruise. You made my day! :)

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AGNov 26Liked by Phil Plait

Yes. All of this. I went dark on FB several months ago and, though I miss a few friends and relatives there, the feeling is far milder and far narrower than I expected. The time I gained back has more than outweighed that, even without the sense that I have clambered out of a democracy-undermining cesspool.

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Phil PlaitNov 26

I don't think I will miss it at all. I used it to keep up with some groups and news and such, but not being a part of it far more than makes up for being a part of it.

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CLVNov 26Liked by Phil Plait

Good for you. I’ve been thinking about quitting FB for a while now. You very succinctly summarized all of the ways they have abused their users and lost credibility.

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Phil PlaitNov 26

Thank you. Like I said, it's up to everyone what to do, but the real problem, I think, is inertia. I for one know I won't miss it.

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