In an effort to limit my digital footprint, one of the things I am doing is not liking every fucking thing on Facebook. In addition to not liking anything moving forward, I also went back and unliked everything that I have liked over the last 3 years or so. This includes pages, interests, posts and comments. Here’s what I learned from this exercise:
I click like on just about everything. At a certain point going through and clicking like became my ritualistic routine of using Facebook on mobile. I have went as far as removing the Facebook app from my phone just to avoid this from happening again.
What I like is quite predictable, specifically around television shows. I don’t watch a ton of television but it’s very obvious when I do. New season of Orange is the New Black or The Walking Dead is out? You’ll be likely to find a ton of likes on stuff from or about the show.
With all of these likes, I rarely commented or re-posted the content with additional commentary. In my opinion, clicking like adds little to no value to the content and thus should be avoided. My wife called out the fact that if I am commenting more and liking less, Facebook can still track my ass. While this is a true statement, at least with commenting I feel I will be less likely to comment at the volume that I click the like button. I don’t always have something of value to add whereas clicking like is an effortless action that requires little to no thought to accomplish.
Manually unliking everything is really fucking hard. It’s so hard that I would recommend deleting your account completely and remaking it later on if you want to accomplish a complete purge of your likes. I could have automated the task but I felt that it was important to go through and see what I was liking over the years. One thing I learned is that you can speed up the manual process dramatically by clicking the pencil icon then hitting
U + <ENTER>.
None of these likes were important. I look back at the last 3 years of likes and all I can think is, I really don’t care about any of this information. It’s quite possibly some of the least important data in my life. The flip side of that is that the data is significantly important to the brands I liked as well as Facebook so they can feed their algorithms to help better serve ads to me based on my interests. I also have to assume that it’s important to the special people out there that thrive off of the notifications that someone liked their… whatever. No one’s asked me why I stopped liking their shit yet, so I’m jumping to the conclusion that my likes just don’t matter to anybody.
I plan to repeat this exercise on the other services I frequent as well. I’m even toying with the idea of purging all of my Tweets that are older than 90 days old. Seems a bit harsh though, in comparison to my mindless Facebook likes, Twitter posts (not necessarily retweets) are more insightful since they are actual quips from my head.
I am also currently in search of a service that lets me automatically purge Tweets and other social posts over X days old without forcing me to utilize a third-party app to post from. It would also be nice if it had an archive feature as Twitter does not provide a way to flag individual Tweets as private.