I’ve realized that the only times I ever miss Facebook are the times that I feel like griping about something that is trivial and petty. Just those little annoyances in life that are usually cast as a snide aside if one is with friends or that had become habit for me on Facebook. It happens less and less, but in the days after I deleted my FB account, it was an urge I had frequently – here is how it would go – something would annoy me and I would think to myself “I should post this on Facebook” – much like our president does with his Twitter (thankfully, Twitter is not a habit that I need to break) – and here’s the thing – these were never that big of deals in the first place, they were the kind of thing that we are bothered by and then they pass and we never think of them again – but I was creating a permanent record of them and then being reminded of them on an annual basis. My friends were being shown a picture of me that was anything but accurate – except in those moments of annoyance themselves. So, to a very real degree, Facebook turned me into someone who was trivial and petty and it re-enforced that behavior on a continuous basis. These days, I have those annoyances (like we all do) – things like someone smelling bad or not getting the whatever it might be that I wanted or something else trivial and petty – and my ego flares up momentarily and I become trivial and petty for a moment (as I think we all do) and then I think I should post this to Facebook and then I trigger this new reaction which is something like ‘there goes my trivial and petty ego again’ and I dismiss it with a warm chuckle, or at worst feel momentarily ashamed at my ego-behavior – and then I go back to being me. No more re-enforcing of my silly egoistness and no more long term recording of my shameful annoyances. And, if it is something that I am annoyed by that I write it here – it is generally at least couched in a bit more of who I am than a momentary rant shot out to the entire planet for the entire future of the human race ….
Update: I’ve also just committed Linkedinicide
I just permanently deleted my Facebook account and profile. It’s been a process – but now it is done. Well, sort of, it takes two weeks for Facebook to delete it – I guess they want to make sure you really want to do it. Yeah, I’m over it. I have my friends phone numbers and addresses for the most part and I don’t feel the need to share on someone else’s platform – I’ll miss about one post out of a hundred – the ones where friends tell funny stories about their kids or talk about really enjoying life or overcoming obstacles…but the other 99 posts – advertisements, political postings, reposts, paid thought control, and more. No thanks. I want real life back – maybe I’ll be the only one not on Facebook someday – that would be kind of cool. Track this internet.
(My friend Dave asked me why not just suspend instead of permanently deleting it (in the comments below) – I gave a rather longwinded reply which I think is important enough to post here:
The temptation to go back is what I want to get rid of – and a big part of why I have done this is because I’ve decided that Facebook is being used against me (and everyone else) in a whole slew of ways – most of which we are unaware of. I am fairly certain that the amount of time we talk with friends on the phone has decreased because of Facebook, I’m fairly certain that we read less because of Facebook (and for the record, I’m certain of it for myself but only making suppositions for others based on my experience and observation – which is why I am writing ‘fairly certain’ and not ‘positive’). I’m fairly certain that we are being marketed to using our likes, our friends likes, and our actions on what is 100% a commercial platform where users and data are the products, not the clients. Ultimately, I found myself spending a very surprising amount of time on FB doing things that were not really making me happy or improving the quality of my life – and the amount of time was growing by leaps and bounds but in an almost imperceptible way. Back when I first got on Facebook – it was an hour or so a week, then it became an hour a day, and then mobile FB came along and it was on all the time – providing me with notifications and updates constantly and encouraging me to ‘share’ my location, activities, photos, likes, opinions, etc etc etc. Those 10 seconds you look at a phone notification add up to a very surprising amount of time – and they are interrupting focus and concentration on whatever you may be doing.
This was not a light decision – I’ve been moving towards it for a couple of years – first, I trimmed my friends list down from right around 1000 to an even 100 – the 100 people I wanted to interact with – I got rid of people I knew but wasn’t actually friends with – people I met in passing, old high school acquaintances, friends of friends, coworkers, etc. Then, my next step was to lock up my privacy as much as FB allows you – which gives you a private network but the security is actually an illusion – FB, and anyone with access to FB servers and code, still has access and as I’ve written before, a huge amount of your data is still available for marketing and targeting to the highest bidder – and finally – I downloaded my full FB profile – which really freaked me out – the amount of data you don’t see in your profile greatly exceeds what you see when you look at your profile – like for example – my profile included your name, phone number, email, address, where you work, and more – about YOU! So then I took the next step which was to ask a friend to admin the facebook pages and communities I’ve built for websites and businesses I own – I didn’t want to delete those and want to still be able to post articles from my blog (but not directly to facebook, as links, which is different in terms of Intellectual property) – finally, I notified friends about my decision, exchanged phone numbers and emails and last night – I pulled the trigger. And you know what’s funny? Even in the 12 hours since (and it will take FB 2-weeks to delete my profile) I have had better phone, email, and website (meaning right here) interaction with important people in my life than I’ve had in a long long time – and – this has to be said – I found myself looking at the computer and saying “Wow, what should I do on here?” and realizing that without Facebook, I didn’t want to spend as much time on the computer – I’ve done more reading, spent more time talking with my wife, and worked on an ukulele song with my daughter – and all of that was time that I probably would have been doing something (or nothing, actually) on Facebook – so there is my longwinded answer Dave. I’m going to copy and past it into the main area of the blog post too. So, I don’t think it’s the same thing – it might seem like it – but I want it to be permanent.