Hello Facebook BFFs!
Last month marked the eighth anniversary of my joining Facebook. And like all big milestones, this occasion offered an opportunity to ruminate and reflect. Many of you have noticed I rarely participate in Facebook for personal use anymore. In fact, I only use it as a proxy to update my business page. Therefore, this shouldn’t be any surprise…
It may be difficult to hear, but I want you to hear it directly from me:
It’s not you; it’s me. Well… to be fair, it’s a little you. And by “a little you,” I mean that literally: the incessant photos of a.) your kids and b.) your workout progress. :p
(Kidding!) (Not really!)
But it’s mostly me. Namely, my opinions about Facebook, “Big Data,” third-party surveillance, the weight of perpetuating virtual relationships that wouldn’t otherwise exist, the anthropological oddity of nurturing faux relationships that already don’t exist, and the opportunity costs of having to expend energy thinking about any of this in the first place. You name it; I’m tired of it.
Michael, we don’t have a lot of time on this earth. We weren’t meant to spend it this way! Peter Gibbons, Office Space
Because of that, I am deleting my account. Not just temporarily “deactivating” my account. I’m straight-up deleting every tiny morsel I can find: every like, every comment, every photo, every tag, every search, every everything.
But doesn’t Facebook make it nearly impossible to do that?
Yes. You have no idea, friend. I spent at least 20 hours over five days deleting everything I could. But the effort was worth it to me, and the work was surprisingly cathartic and sentimental.
Granted, I’m not confident Facebook will actually permanently “delete” my content from their servers. There are plenty of complaints about deleted content mysteriously reappearing. Moreover, there’s increasing evidence that Facebook aggregates data beyond the user account by using the information you submit to crowdsource private information about your friends, both those with and without Facebook accounts.
Regardless of the futility, my hope is that manually deleting everything will serve as an unassailable signal of my intentions and that it will at least introduce disruptions to my server-side digital footprint as the content propagates throughout the Facebook backup farms.
The last step in this process, before I turn the lights out for good, is manually “unfriending” each of you. If the past few days is any barometer, I’ll feel a surprising sense of nostalgia as I do so. Please consider it one final virtual hug. Thank you for sharing your lives with me over the past eight years.
Unfortunately, against my desires, I must continue maintaining my business Facebook page. (Paying bills, to my chagrin, sometimes necessitates hypocrisy.) If you’re interested in staying plugged-in to my professional life, please “like” Justin Hankins Photography at the following link:
Additionally, you may always find me at my website:
Thank you again.
P.S. My purpose for writing this was not to evangelize or criticize. But if you’re on the fence about Facebook, here are some links worth reading:
- Stuff by Paul Graham
- The Time You Have (In JellyBeans) by Ze Frank
- Commit Facebook Suicide by Micah White
- Facebook Makes Us Sadder And Less Satisfied by Elise Hu
P.P.S. Yes, I realize and concur that this entire post, not unlike Facebook, itself, is narcissistic and navelgazing and ridiculous in nature. But I grew up in a time when the Web was primarily about community. And although the idea of community has evolved into a 6-headed monster over the years, I wanted to at least honor some of that original sentiment. Apologies if this causes you any inconvenience.