Thursday, May 20, 2010

Goodbye, Facebook

I had a moment this last weekend where I realized Facebook wasn't doing me any good. I was sitting around a table with my husband, sister, grandma, and cousins when I thought to myself, "I have no questions to ask my family. We stay in touch so much that nothing is ever new or worthy of discussion anymore." Rather than sever ties with family, I'm opting to discontinue using Facebook.

There are several other reasons why I'm walking away from the single largest social media outlet.

1) When I joined Facebook in 2005, it was a social tool that allowed me to communicate with other students at OSU. I could decide who saw my name, picture, and information. There were no fancy applications, no chat feature, and certainly no family members. As Facebook has grown from a small community of schools to an open network, I've lost track of why I joined in the first place. I've gone through purges, deleted information and added info anew, and been dismayed to see my privacy sucked away update by update. Facebook no longer offers a safe haven of information isolated from the prying eyes of family or friends. (Not that I have anything to hide, but sometimes it's nice to post, "parents just don't understand!" without them seeing it.)

2) Anything can be posted by anyone at any time, and it links back to me. If someone posts a picture of me doing a keg stand (ha!), and then they tag me, my entire family and friends network will see the atrocity. Short of removing the tag from the picture, there's nothing I can do to remove the picture itself. And I'm not okay with people posting embarrassing pictures of me. Sure, even if I leave Facebook entirely, people can still post embarrassing pictures about me, but that means they'll have to get the pictures first...

3) "You're invited to a party!" "Join the 'I hate Twilight' group!" and "I lost my phone so send me your numbers event!" are common invitations that I've come to hate. The only invitations I really need are to weddings, birthday parties, and baby showers. Everything else can be done with a phone call. If I'm important enough to be invited, then hopefully that person darn well has my phone number. I'm done with electronic, meaningless, utterly pointless invitations.

4) The newsfeed went from bad to worse to flat-out awful. I used to have to actively pursue my friends' profiles to stay on top of their lives (we called this stalking way back when). Now, every time a person clicks on their profile and changes one word, they fill up my newsfeed with their garbage. I don't care if you're most like a purple crayon or that you are 74.6% angelic or that you're a fan of Megatron. I don't care.

5) Games with no point. Most games have very little "point" when you think about it, but there's a difference between playing Scrabble or Cribbage than Farmville. I never did get into Farmville, thankfully, though I was dogged with my Restaurant City determination. What did I learn from RC? Absolutely nothing. The games are lame at best. I prefer to play free games online that don't require me to be signed in and competing with friends constantly. Life isn't a competition, so why would I want my online presence to be one?

6) I do not like "like." Also, I would enjoy seeing a "dislike" button. I am not a "fan" of anything, and I very rarely "like" something beyond a status update. My opinion of your new degree, weekend adventure, or awesome pictures doesn't need to be known by the entire world. If it's a great achievement or noteworthy event, I'll let you know in more words than "like."

7) I do not need help finding people or discovering new pages online. I get tired of Facebook telling me I need to talk to a person or that I should join a group that six other friends joined. I'm not a sheep. I'm smart enough to realize that I haven't spoken to my husband online is six months--never mind that we just made dinner together or hugged or laughed ourselves silly with nary an electronic device in sight.

8) And finally, privacy. If I decide to put something online, I want to know whether it's "safe" or not. Facebook used to be "safe" when only people I chose could see my pictures or notes or status. But since Facebook changed their policy to keep all uploads forever, I've systematically removed data. My blog is public--and anything there is under a Creative Commons License--so I know that my blog is 100% open. Facebook tries to be sneaky, and I'm not okay with their policy.

I desire spontaneous conversation and staying connected in real life as opposed to fictitious friends and being overly involved in meaningless competition or dramatic needs for attention. If I decide to link my blog to other places, that's my choice. I am not comfortable with Facebook's "right" to network me to the whole world.

MySpace, likewise, will disappear from my life.

My profile will be deactivated by the end of the month. To maintain contact with me, stick around on bloggy. I have an e-mail address that I share with friends and family (not the general public as a rule). I can also be contacted by telephone, text message, my work e-mail during the daytime, Google Wave, and through my mother if the need arises. In order to maintain picture sharing capabilities, I'm switching to Google's Picasa Web Albums. If that's not enough connection, then I don't know what is!

Goodbye, Facebook, goodbye.


Skunk said...

'Bout time. Well done. :)

MissKris said...

I deactivated mine about a month ago??? Something like that. I'd come to despise it, too. And I haven't missed it. I must admit I've had to activate it twice to find some email addresses but I deactivate it as soon as I'm done and I don't read anything. I DO NOT MISS IT!!! Between Farmville and Yoville clutter, inane comments, and a certain few who'd post a thousand times a day that would take up my whole page -- I was never one to have more than closest friends and family on there unless someone 'friended' me and I didn't want to offend them by refusing -- so the ones I DID want to hear about got lost in amongst all the "Got a pig! Built a barn!" junk...well, it drove me to the brink of nuttiness. Goodbye, Facebook, indeed! And my son told me as of July, you'll have to pay to use it. It's not worth one penny in my humble opinion.