I’ve been putting a lot of thought into quitting my Facebook account in the last few days. Which is strange that I feel the need to justify, even to myself, why I am choosing to no longer use a tool. At the end of the day that is all Facebook is- a tool that I no longer find useful, so why the extended manifesto on why I am done? I should just delete the damn thing and move on. However, like many others on the web, I’ve mentally been writing this post for days to explain to my friends and anyone else willing to listen, why I have chosen to no longer harangue them with photos of my kids and a litany of other cyber-activist news article that I happen to be reading when I am bored and alone at my house. Maybe I am just being trendy. Or maybe the latest shenanigans at Facebook have finally broken this camels back, whatever the reason, unfortunately, I don’t really have a clear profound existential reason for getting out. I have some loose strands, zygote ideas and you can find them below:
1. The main reason, or at least the first that comes to mind is that it has grown stale. No offense to the 256 friends I interact with everyday. Really I am not dealing with 256 people, but a small group pf very active users. The conversations have dried up to only about five or six people and they are usually not that compelling. At first I too loved getting photos of friends from around the globe and knowing what everyone was doing on their vacations and their everyday lives, but that personal aspect of Facebook seems to have been replaced by updates on which witty groups my friends have joined.
2. All this nonsense about privacy. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in an open web. My Twitter bio reads: I want to share as much as I can with as many people as I can as often as I can. And I still believe that. I am spread across the web: Videos, Photos, Blogs, Blogs, Music, Books, web links, you name it. I believe in sharing my thoughts, feelings, and ideas, but I am not too pleased with how Facebook is claiming my life as its personal marketing tool. I will put my life out there and license it Creative Commons for others to see, use, share, and learn from, but I will not have my life turned into some ever changing nefarious web of privacy terms of service. Something about the new Facebook is untrustworthy and makes me uncomfortable. The fact that I can’t put my finger on it makes me want to opt out. I've read enough to know I am not happy. Read this and this.
3. I like to quit things that become burdensome and habitual. After surviving the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, I vowed to write 100 haikus. One a day for 100 days. I ended up writing 475 and posted each one on a Dreamweaver created website. Once day, I felt heavy and obligated to continue. The very practice I had started to help me carve out a time of my day to breath and reconnect with myself and the world had become a noose. I deleted every single poem without leaving a trace. Like a sand mandala I simply freed myself from the attachment. Five years ago, after a lifetime of building my identity around my relationship to alcohol, I quit drinking cold turkey and have never looked back. There is a very liberating feeling in breaking your habits. Facebook has become a habit, an unsatisfying one at that. I have grown too attached to the comfort of "being in touch" that I think perhaps I need to disconnect to learn more about myself, my friends, and my relationships.
I do not want my experiences on the web to become habitual. I want each interaction on the web to be authentic, dynamic, new and exciting. I want to create content and wait for someone to find it and connect with me. If that takes months, years, a lifetime that is fine with me. I am here in my corner of the web. I don’t not want my web experience to only be defined by Facebook and by the people who are there. I hope that my Facebook friends will venture out of the safe confines of Facebook and find me elsewhere. One of the main reasons I loved Facebook was that it allowed me to connect with people that were not very active on the web. But now, I hope that as a whole, users are more comfortable with web tools so that they can begin to move beyond Facebook as well. I would much rather have a conversation on a blog comment than a Facebook like button.
So friends, this is not the end of the line. If you find what I do, say, and think interesting then come join me out here on the true worldwide web, do not allow Facebook to determine where you view photographs or read news stories. Do not allow Facebook to control your content or your web experience.
I am saying good bye. Just like that! If you were a friend on Facebook whether an old friend, a random high school acquaintance I have recently gotten back in touch with, or a neighbor and you enjoyed my Facebook presence, I encourage you to follow my blogs. Now that I am not spending time reading my Facebook threads, I may actually be creating some worthwhile content. Goodbye Facebook, hello World Wide Web.
Leave me a comment. Don't be shy. No need to be anonymous. I am not asking you to quit Facebook, just asking that you come out here with me from time to time and share your thoughts.