So Long Facebook…Kind Of

To Facebook or not to Facebook, that is the question. For the last few weeks I have been toying with the idea of closing down my Facebook account. I’ve fallen into a routine of checking it every time I log onto a computer or pick up my phone and to find out what…that a random from my office is hungover? That an old primary school classmate is tired? Or that a distant family member is glad it’s nearly the weekend? I suspect that were I to bump into one of these people, I would not ask them whether they managed a good night’s sleep, or why they were so keen for the weekend to come. Instead I’d feel awkward like I’d just been spying on them. It’s also a sign of poor usage when the news feed tells you to re-connect with your mother. I have no idea why Facebook has become such a habit. I do not need to know this information.

So where do I go from here? There is something stopping me from closing my account altogether. Firstly those few people who I have got back in touch with that I was really pleased to see. Secondly, on the now rare occasion I update my status, I enjoy reading the comments that are made. And that is it. That’s all facebook has to offer me, both of which I could manage in other ways via e-mail. The stakes aren’t looking good.

My first instinct was to have a Friend cull. Harsh. Since joining in 2005, I have acquired a number of friends who were only mere acquaintances from my school days or past jobs. There’s even a few people who seem to know me but who I just can’t remember. And so the cull began, only it stopped at about 20 people. I found myelf categorising the people in my list into groups:

  • Family and close friends – do not delete
  • Good friends from the past who I’d been so happy to be back in touch with – do not delete
  • Less good friends from the past from school – delete, but actually maybe not in case they know someone from the category above and are offended they’ve been removed – do not delete
  • Work contacts from previous jobs – delete, but I kinda liked them and you never know when a good job opportunity may arise – do not delete
  • Work contacts from current job – delete (I don’t even speak to most of them on a daily basis, especially the ones in other offices), but actually they may be a bit funny if I remove them and it’s sods law I’d have to deal with them – do not delete
  • Work contacts who have left the company – delete
  • People who I can’t really remember – delete

My cull was not that successful and most people survived on the basis that I may offend them. In reality they probably feel the same way as me. If I’m going to do this, I’m just going to have to be ruthless. It’s all or nothing…but I’m not quite in the right place to do this yet. It seems like it’s going to have be a process of withdrawl…there’s not going to be any facebook cold turkey for me. Yet.

My next stage is to strip my profile of all it’s extras – who actually is interested in all those photos from my 2006 summer holiday? My growing concern about applications that are linked to my profile are reason enough to remove all of the extras too. I only accepted them for stupid reasons – someone wanted to send me a virtual bear hug or someone wanted to have a birthday reminder. The extras also include reducing my privacy settings. In no time people are only going to be able to see my profile photo and my name and I think this stage of withdrawl will let me finally just to say it’s not worth it.

I feel like Facebook has sold out from it’s original purpose to connect people, and is now operating on a much less personal level. To be honest, I have no idea what they are doing with my data and who is using it. I’m fairly careful with the information I share, but even the basics are starting to feel like too much. To be fair, Facebook have some good mechanisms in place and following someone’s recent attempt to hack into my account, I was duly notified and offered options to increase the safety of my account. The information to help secure your account is all there in the site (here), it’s just whether people will bother to read it. I don’t think Facebook have intended to make personal information insecure (am I naive?), however for those who log in less frequently or who are not that computer literate, the changes in structure and settings are a minefield. When updates are made, your profile requires a thorough check to ensure that the defaults are suitable for you.

So a phased facebook withdrawl is where I am – it’s a sorry state of affairs!  I’m not the type to storm out in protest like the planned walkout on 31st May (we’ll see whether that’s really going to happen). It’s more a personal dilemma. It’s no longer for me. I know who I want to be in touch with and I’m sure those people who know me well enough aren’t going to disown me for closing down my account. For those I’m meant to be in touch with, it will happen. For the others, if it’s not meant to be, so be it!

So long Facebook…kind of.

Infographic from Mashable:

3 Responses to “So Long Facebook…Kind Of”
  1. Roni says:

    I feel like I could have written this post. I’ve commented about my love/hate relationship with FB. Because of my business, I’ve been forced to stay on with FB because I know that people have found Asset Registry through their network…If this hadn’t been the case, I may have dropped them.

  2. geekmissy says:

    Thanks 🙂 I’m feeling the day is drawing near!

  3. Jonathan says:

    Excellent post! Going through exactly the same thing (as you know). I have no idea what the answer is – I suspect at some point I’m just going to press the nuclear button and walk away.

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