So Yeah, I Deleted Facebook

I know my big brother isn't LITERALLY watching me. He's busy. He might call or shoot over a text message, but I'm sure he has better things to do.

Over the weekend, I did what some would consider social media suicide. I deleted Facebook. You know, the place where EVERYONE is and EVERYONE needs to be. That one. Gone. Deleted. Goodbye. And not simply deactivating, but actually deleting the damn thing. It took a while to actually find how to do it, since they don’t make it obvious. So why did I commit seppuku to my online life?

It stopped serving a purpose. One could argue it never did.

Now a bit of background: I didn’t go to a college that had email for a while. It was a junior college, so they didn’t roll out email as soon as others. So inherently, I never had access to Facebook during the run-up with the college crowd. Also, I didn’t really attend college on a regular basis. Once on my way to class I stopped off to have a beer, and didn’t go back for 3 years. So there’s that. I was on the MySpace bandwagon pretty early on, and I held on to that for longer than most. But that’s gone, too.

A friend Ruth summarized her feelings on it pretty well, and coming from a different perspective. And that’s cool, it serves a purpose for her. But it doesn’t for me.

And then there is the privacy stuff.

Now I’m not some tinfoil hat person who thinks everyone is out to get me. Nor do I think that I have any real privacy online. Yes, it’s an illusion. But at what point is it just ridiculous? I understand that when I sign up for a website service, I’m giving them something of mine. Usually my data and some personal information. And I also know that’s probably gonna be used to market something to me. Again, I get it. Although some folks may not agree, the internet doesn’t run on rainbows and hugs. But when Facebook up and decides to give away my personal information to anyone who asks? That’s just a bit too much for me. It’s one thing for me to give away my information. It’s another for someone like Facebook to whore it out like a lonely girl with daddy issues.

Will I fall off the digital map? Doubtful. I use twitter, I have email, and even a *gasp* phone number. Crazy, eh? So I’ll see you around the ‘tubes. Don’t mess up the place while I’m gone.

{ 19 comments }

Ruth April 26, 2010 at 10:15 am

When I was deleting all that stuff on my account a felt a bit tinfoil-hat-esque. But as you wrote, it’s gotten to the point where it’s just ridiculous. If Facebook’s going to share everything about me, then I’m going to put up all the privacy screens I can and delete a lot too.

I stopped interacting with Facebook groups on their walls once that showed up on the first page of search results for my full name (which I’ve managed to keep pretty well un-indexed except for things like Linked In).

Dawn April 26, 2010 at 10:26 am

I quit a few years ago. It was awesome. I came back because of work, and I hate it. But I have like 6 friends on there, no apps, no info, no pics. I’d quit again if I didn’t need to admin clients pages.

Norcross April 26, 2010 at 1:07 pm

That’s the one thing I could see being an issue. I don’t really do any FB Development work, but who knows if / when that’ll change. If need be, I’ll create an UTR account and use that. But I hope to not have to.

JP April 26, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Kudos! I deleted almost all my personal content off FB. I’ve thinned out my “friends” list to a handful, and will be further thinning it.

Hmm. Just read Ruth’s summary and I’ve pretty much done what she did. I configured most things to be visible to “Only Me”. I don’t allow friends to post on my wall, as that can often reveal personal info. I don’t even share my email address with friends. My true friends know my email address and any connections I may have where we share similar business/networking interests can email me through FB, where we can then exchange real-world email addresses if needed.

I like what you did and I’ve been moving in that direction. Honestly I’m tired of the tit for tat crap that FB keeps doing with my private info. It’s something to “stay on top of” and I just don’t need the hassle.

Next = func_delete_fb_account{mine};

Ruth April 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Thinning friends is something I’ve been doing but isn’t complete yet. If I haven’t talked to them in a year, I can probably cut them out & we can refriend if it becomes necessary. But my MIL’s very involved in the small community where I grew up & therefore I see these people when I go back to visit. At least FB doesn’t notify when you unfriend. I think that would be the ultimate awkwardness.

Dawn Wentzell April 26, 2010 at 7:59 pm

It is a bit awkward when, 4 years later, they realize you’re no longer “friends” and try to re-add you though :P

Elizabeth Kaylene April 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I wish I could delete my Facebook. All of their every-ten-seconds changes make me crazy. Unfortunately, I run several business and nonprofit pages for myself and clients that are all really successful and are driving great traffic to their various websites.

DrJohnDrozdal April 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm

You rock, my friend. As you know, as an “elder”, I’m pretty selective about how I want to spend my time so I’m also questioning whether or not Facebook justifies the time investment…and there is the privacy thing! Well done.

Dino April 26, 2010 at 7:04 pm

400 million? Everyone? There are a hell of a lot more people than that. Or were you talking about ‘the west’. You know us lucky people with electricity and running water. I never joined facebook, never will.

Norcross April 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Clearly sarcasm isn’t your strong point.

Susan Pogorzelski April 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I’ve been thinking about doing this for the past two years — it was a great way to reconnect with old friends and keep in touch with new ones, but I never really saw any value other than that.

And then I discovered Twitter. And all positive feelings related to Facebook went downhill from there. Too many changes, yes, but also too many options with Facebook. Twitter is simple — it’s about sharing and listening, meeting and learning. With Facebook, it seems like it’s more shouting, more…everything. It’s almost too much now.

I think I’ll begin by cutting back (which I rarely go on now as it is), see how that goes and what changes Facebook makes. I can’t believe I’ll be sorry if I delete my account…

I’m actually a fan of the phone.

Norcross April 29, 2010 at 1:22 am

First off, thanks for the kudos on the new site. That being said, I never had the connections on FB that others talk about. I was a MySpace guy, and came to FB late in the game. So it was always catch up for me, and I never spent too much time in it. Having to change my settings at each turn was just icing on the cake.

Susan Pogorzelski April 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm

PS: I really like the new look of the site!

cooper April 28, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I did it that in college and never really got into it. I have a simple account there now where only my family goes but only I go once every 6 months. I suspect I will be deleting that soon as well.

Elisa April 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Aw, now I have Thesis website envy, which is kind of like penis envy, except I don’t have one of those so instead I project all my frustrations into my website layout.

In other words, I like the new design. :)

As for the post, I love that you chose to deal with the privacy settings by eliminating the cause of the problem. Many are paring down their pages, friends lists, interactions and thinking by only doing cocaine “a little bit” they’ll kick the habit. If you don’t like it, leave. If you do, stay. But don’t be a little bitch about it.

I agree with much of what you’ve said, I like Facebook because it gives me a place to connect with readers of my column. They get to see me on a more personal level, which many enjoy. I actually get a lot of comments and messages from readers there. Which I’ve gotta say, I totally wasn’t expecting. And I DO have a filter for photos & videos tagged of me, mostly because I can’t control the crazy shit my friends do and tag!

That being said, it definitely isn’t for everyone, and I admire your decision to use SM accounts that are right for you.

laurie ruettimann May 5, 2010 at 12:32 am

Questions.

1. How will I share my vacation photos with my Mom?

2. Is it better to have my digital footprint scattered on 19 sites or just one?

3. This thesis design is nice, yo.

Norcross May 5, 2010 at 8:31 am

Simple enough:
1.) Mom doesn’t have Facebook, and refuses to sign up. And my wife puts all the photos on Picasa
2.) I’d prefer having the smallest footprint possible. I’m not looking to make an ‘impact’ rather, just connect and converse with folks I have shared interests in. And twitter pretty much handles that for me.
3.) Gracias

JP May 5, 2010 at 1:29 am

@laurie ruettiman: To each his own, but:

1. email? personal web site? family web site?

2. Or better to have it scattered across none? Or how about owning your own content instead of giving it away to Facebook, etc.? Owning your brand?

3. Agreed

Justin May 15, 2010 at 2:56 am

Wow… that’s suicidal!! I was just having a conversation the other day about how people without facebook profiles get judged and frowned upon in society. I don’t want to believe it’s true, but it kinda is for people I know in real life! lol I like that you did this, though. Challenge the system!