Why I’m ditching Facebook

06Sep10

I’ve been putting this off for several months now (meant to do it way back at the end of April), but I’m finally getting my butt in gear and shutting down my Facebook page. When I say “shutting down”, I mean as in total deletion, not just stopping using it. I’ve mentioned this plan to a couple friends and whatnot, some of whom responded apprehensively or negatively, so I just wanted to write this for those people, to explain my rationale as well as the reason why this doesn’t mean you can’t get in touch with me anymore. There are two key reasons why I’m bailing out:

  • I never use it anymore. I’ve just sorta stopped. If you look at my wall, on most days it’s big blocks of my status posts, with an occasional comment from someone else. I don’t upload pictures, don’t really look at anyone else’s status or what they’re doing, etc. I’m not totally sure why I’ve just gradually drifted away from Facebook, but I have a few theories (indented bulleted list, yay!)
    • All I used it for was status updates. Sometime around the spring of 2009, I realized that pretty much the only thing I was using Facebook for was just broadcasting statuses: what I was doing, or what Slashdot article I was reading at the time. This is what my professors would call a “heavyweight solution to a lightweight problem”, which is why I signed up for Twitter around the same time: same task, without the overhead. For a while I’ve just been linking my Facebook status to my Twitter feed, but that just presents a different problem: since I essentially ignore Facebook now, it means I’m shooting statuses off into the ether. People occasionally comment on them, and then I just look like a jerk for not responding.
    • Facebook and me don’t really mesh. I’m going to be blunt here: I don’t have a lot of friends. I’m one of those people that has just a few really good friends, and I have other means besides Facebook for keeping in touch with them. This is sort of the opposite of the typical “Facebook model” where people have a lot of friends and use the site as a hub to coordinate communication with all of them. The other things people mention using Facebook for- like connecting with people from high school and so forth- don’t really apply to me either. I’ve really just run out of any good reason to keep using it, and having essentially not used it at all since April, I’ve found that I haven’t missed it.
  • Their privacy policy bugs me. It seems like clockwork that every six months Facebook has made some changes to their privacy policy, which are inevitably a turn for the worse. There was the Beacon debacle way back in the ancient days of 2007, but more recently there was the dustup where some pieces of information, like your Likes and friends list, not only weren’t hidden by default, but couldn’t be hidden from the general public no matter what. It’s true that Facebook has generally backed down whenever the anger over these changes gets out of hand, but these are clearly reluctant acts from a company that doesn’t really care, and treats user annoyance at privacy changes as an oddity instead of an entirely justified reaction. And even after Facebook “backs down”, the anti-privacy creep doesn’t seem to have stopped; the main cause of my anger is not what Facebook is doing now, but what such a clearly apathetic company might do in the future. If I was really invested in Facebook, I might be willing to overlook these things (I admit that I do give Google some leeway because I rely on them for so much), but I’m not about to tolerate this kind of behavior with regards to a service I don’t care about.

Basically I’ve decided that Facebook is more trouble than it’s worth. I’m not getting anything out of it now, so I don’t see why I should bother myself with either the time investment in it, or the concern about whether potential employers, sketchy advertisers, etc. are looking at it.

If you want to keep in touch with me, Facebook isn’t going to be an option any more, but there are plenty of other ways.

If you don’t mind trying out Twitter, I actually highly recommend it. Twitter sort of has a reputation for being a place where self-obsessed narcissists post every little detail of their drab lives, and there are plenty of people like that, but really it’s whatever you make of it. Like I was saying earlier, I just use it for posting anything I think people who are interested in me (that’s one of the reasons I like Twitter: if you care about what I’m saying, follow me; if you don’t, don’t. Compare this to Facebook where everyone who I’ve friended sees my status whether they want to or not) might want to see. The number of people I know who use Twitter has steadily been increasing, so it’s actually as useful as Facebook ever was for sending quick bursts of communication to people. If you don’t know as many people using it, its usefulness might be limited, but I encourage you to give it a try.

If you don’t feel like doing that, I’ve got e-mail, I have a cellphone with this fancy newfangled thing called texting (see the contact tab) or if you’re proximate to me in the real world you could even come up to me and talk 😉 Point is, I’m not dropping off the face of the Earth just because I’m getting rid of Facebook, and I don’t want to lose touch with anyone who still wants to talk to me. I’ll actually check Facebook regularly for the next week or so: if you want to make plans to establish a communication link, that’s the time to do it.

Ciao!

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One Response to “Why I’m ditching Facebook”

  1. 1 David Miller

    The fact that you have to bullet-point your reasoning is a true testament to how powerful Facebook has become in our everyday lives. I tend to use it to shoot off statuses as well, but I’ve had the opposite reaction to Twitter: it seems too bare-bones and doesn’t feel like as much of a true social “hub,” if you will. To be fair, the amount of people on Twitter that I’m following or being followed by is markedly smaller than you, and my account has fallen into an kind of internet purgatory where I can’t decide whether I really need another mouth to feed. I’ll still be following Sloverlord there anyway.

    And yes, I did find this blog through Facebook.


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