Well, I did it. I committed “Facebook Suicide.” That’s the term for deleting your profile in the social network as if you no longer exist.
I wasn’t terribly worried about my privacy. I assumed that pretty much everything I put in my profile or said online was visible to everyone. I mean, it may be only your “friends” who are supposed to see what you write, but if someone is determined, anything is available.
You can still (always) find me online. I have Twitter, MySpace, Google Buzz, AIM and other accounts. And of course, this blog. For all of my stuff, just Google me, my profile is there.
I was more concerned about friends and family who, following my example, blithely joined. I wonder if any of them spent the time wading through the multiple levels of privacy settings like I did. I’ll bet few, if any. They were all to busy playing Farmville.
The best thing about Facebook is that your friends are all there. I mean literal friends, people you really know and value. I had about 260 “friends.” Many of them were family, classmates from high school, and a lot of people who I knew or had met through my music podcasting days. I truly enjoyed reading what they all had to say. Many didn’t say much, but it was nice to be in touch with them on some level. I’ll miss that.
What I don’t miss is the endless silliness. I don’t care who is playing Mafia Wars, or what special animal someone got in Farmville. I have nothing against them, but I’m not playing them and I don’t have any interest in them, so why do I have to keep clicking a button to hide them? And why if I already hid messages generated by some game, do I get related variations of it? And I really don’t care if someone gave me a virtual gift, or bought me a virtual drink. That’s all fun, but why do I need to send one to 5 other people to accept one? Just because I might indulge in some silly gesture with a close friend, doesn’t mean I want to involve any others.
I know a lot of people really get into those things. They are not important to me, though.
I often used FB to post a quick thought that wasn’t worth writing a full blog post here. A lot of them I included a link to share or a picture or video. It’s really good for that and I think that is Facebook’s most powerful aspect. Even when I wrote a long piece in this blog, I would tell people about it and link to it on FB. Some other friends were doing the same and we all read each others articles that way.
I also found the chat function useful. I often IMed certain people when we were online. Sure, I could do that with AIM or ICQ or any of the four or five IM systems I have accounts with. But often people whose eyes glazed over if you tried to explain those to, were happy to chat using Facebooks chat. Many didn’t even realize that often I wasn’t even looking at Facebook, I was using Digsby, a instant messaging client that works with all my IM accounts at once.
But over all, Facebook was a big annoyance and time-waster. When it became a movement to quit in protest of their policies, I decided to pile on. There wasn’t much to lose.
Besides, if it works and FB shapes up and shows some concern over their users privacy concerns, I can alway rejoin. Well, maybe. It seems like too much work.
You can’t just quit. They make you deactivate it. It gets deleted in two weeks. If you log in – even once – in that time, everything is back to normal. Before I deactivated my account, I made sure that wouldn’t happen. I deleted all my photos. I changed my profile picture to something very generic: Tom from MySpace. I thought that was ironic. I removed every detail from my profile that I could. Then I said my goodbyes and removed every friend, one by one. Then just to insure that I can’t accidentally log in ad re-activate the account, I changed the password. Then I deactivated the account. There is no going back now. In a couple weeks, I’ll cease to exist on FB altogether.
If I ever go back, I think I’ll do it differently. I may make a profile for just close friends and family and another one for those extended friends. Maybe even a separate one for all my musician friends. Like I said, it seems like more work than it would be worth.