On Leaving Facebook

I’ve been lazy about getting around to this entry, putting off writing it for longer than I should.  I don’t want to deactivate my account until I’ve written it, and had time to direct people here, but it’s not been good motivation to get me to actually write the darn thing (even though I haven’t been on facebook for a week-ish).

I think the biggest question here is why I am leaving.  I have my reasons, and I’ll share some of them, but I think a better question is this:  Why should I stay?  What is facebook adding to my life that means that I should keep it?

The answer, near as I can tell, is not a whole lot.

It’s supposed to be a way to keep up with friends and family, to stay social with them, but I think that is more billing than fact.  Your close friends you will keep up with regardless, whether it is on facebook, twitter, through email or texts, or just the occasional coffee.  It can be a good way to facilitate that interaction, but isn’t required for it (which should be obvious, as I haven’t really used facebook to communicate what is going on with me for a year or more, and people keep in touch).

What facebook allows you to do, what it is really good for and few people talk about, is keeping up people you’re curious about but aren’t really friends with, and pretending to keep in touch with people you don’t really like anymore.  It’s more voyeurism than real connection, or the small talk of social media, and I don’t really like either.

And then there are the abuses of facebook by the world at large.  I’ve locked my profile down pretty tight, but still don’t think my data is safe, or that my facebook couldn’t be a liability.  Here, let me give you a link to how companies are using facebook.  Yes, there are companies requiring you to log in to your facebook so they can search it for you to be hired.

I can hear your counterargument already.  “So don’t work there.”  It’s not always so easy.  In this job market, getting that job may be sink or swim.  It’s not like if you pass up that job, you’ll have another interview next Tuesday.  It could be months, and eating is a habit I just haven’t found a way to break.  That also ignores the fact that it’s fucking ridiculous to have your social media vetted in order to get a job, even if it’s locked down.

So, because of that, there is all this advice about watching what you say on social media, about culling pictures that are questionable, about making sure your wall posts (and friends!) don’t show anything bad.  No.  Just, no.  My social media is not another area of my life that I want to manage and mind.  It will be an unburdening reflection of my life, or I will get rid of it.

(To any future employer that may be reading this:  I stand by everything I say here, and you will not be accessing my private social media.  (See, the irony of blogging about facebook oversharing didn’t escape me!))

That doesn’t mean that leaving facebook will necessarily be the easiest thing to do, just that I think it is the right thing to do.  Nowadays, not having facebook is like not having a car – people give you funny looks when you admit that (those who live or have lived without a car outside of a major metropolitan area (and even in most of them) understand this well).  I will have to make more of an effort to keep in touch with my friends, instead of passively waiting for them to post and share, but I really don’t see that as much of a downside.

Also, timeline is fucking awful web design.

So!  All that being said, here are the two things that you need to know.  You can get updates on my life from this site.  By the time this entry gets posted to facebook, I will have an easy subscribe button that will let you get updates, delivered right to your inbox.  And on the flip side of that, you tell me how I can keep up with you!  Leave a comment (or send an email, since comments are public) with whatever way (other than facebook, obviously) that is best for keeping in touch with you.

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