Why I Disabled Facebook Chat

by Brian Ritchie


Last Updated: Jun 12, 2012 21:05
662 words · 4 minutes read

I love being connected. It gives me a calm feeling knowing that I am able to reach anyone anytime, and vice versa for those wanting to reach me. This is one of the reasons why I always ensure a 3G connection is available when travelling.

However, having recently discovered that I have a very low tolerance for bullshit and time wasters, I realized that there’s an inherent need for me to control incoming messages to a time range so my thought flow and process is not interrupted. Facebook Chat however seems to work counter clockwise.

I don’t just get notifications at the top but an annoying sound and popup chat window that invades my viewing space at the bottom right hand corner that makes it very hard to ignore and move on. While I think real-time communication is great, having features that will enable me to control how I am notified when a Chat Message comes in is crucial towards my experience as a user.

Facebook Chat Settings

Facebook Chat Settings

For this reason among others, I absolutely love the way Twitter promotes communication among people. Twitter somehow understands that there are multiple forms of communications and it is often up to the individual user to decide how he or she wants to communicate with one another.

Google+ on the other hand enables this through its GTalk chat component which functions pretty much like Facebook’s Chat, except with the ability to control your status intuitively. Facebook seems to do this weirdly with the adoption of the whitelist and blacklist method where, your offline except to a select few, your online except to a select few or your completely offline. Maintaining and curating these lists isn’t optimal simply because sometimes its just about being available for one person and not everyone else.

This got me thinking of how important the way we think of communication is. Communication despite it being something we practice everyday in some form or capacity even if its abstinence from it completely is absolutely crucial and very very private. The way we perceive it mutates and morphs constantly and changes in split seconds during mood swings or other real life states of mind such boredom, sadness or ‘Happy Hour’.

Communication is and always will be one of the important pillars of civilization as we know it and will help shape the way we think, behave, learn and do anything. Having to work on something as important as that is a monumental task for any one organization and for that, Facebook does deserve a pat in the back especially since they also have to tolerate rants of raving madmen such as myself who decided to write down my flow of thoughts around 4.30am in a foreign city.

Facebook as a company deserves accolades for changing the way we think of privacy permanently, but their innovation with Chat and Real-Time Messaging is yet to have taken that momentous leap. Perhaps they will find a way and that’s still to be determined but as of right now, Google+ and Twitter seems to have gotten it right or at least better than Facebook.

So until such that that they have figure it out, I have opted to disable my Facebook Chat and remain completely offline while seeking to rely on the notifications at the top of Facebook for messages that come in. It seems to be the cop out way of dealing with the situation instead of suggesting a solution for them to consider, and as they say its always easier to talk rather than do, but as of right now, it seems to be the approach I’d rather take. Of course it could simple be that I am lazy and have not figured out a solution myself, but at this point, it seems more like the aforementioned issue where its a monumental task to try and figure out an innovative, simple and easy way to tackle the problem and I am not there yet. 😉