This week I deleted my Facebook account with much relief and, to be honest, a little anxiety. My wavering history with social media goes like this: first I had Friendster (2002), second I had Myspace (2003), and onto Facebook (2004), a brief stint with Twitter (2009), and lastly Linkedin (2009). One by one, each established social platform lost its vigor, attraction, and excitement, and as we know that in this attention deprived world, if you lose your intended audience then you need a plan B, C, all the way to Z.
Although I enjoyed aspects of each of these platforms, none ever felt right or necessary, thus starting my love/hate relationship with the phenomena that is “social media”. Ultimately, each platform was erased, only to be replaced by the next new thing. Friendster had the novelty and newness of spying on your friends and strangers (trolling), and Myspace felt like a popularity contest through music, and then there was Facebook which introduced an unlimited platform for sharing, viewing, exposing, bullying, selfies, and narcissism. What I realized was that I saw myself turning into the things I most disliked in people: whiny and vain. Still its hard to just leave and unplug from the mainframe of society, partially due to the fear of missing out.
My anxiety about leaving Facebook has a little to do with the volume of information gathered about me in the past 10 years. I’m less concerned about not being able to stay in contact with my “Friends”. Facebook remembers better than I do what I’ve been doing with my life in a chronological, exact manner, down to the minute, of the day, rounded by approximately 200 yards in distance from my position. There was oddly a slight comfort in knowing that something was tracking the things I wouldn’t, that there is a reference for having existed. But then again, isn’t that kinda scary?
The recent politics with Facebook’s “real name” policies which targets the queer community sealed the deal for me. In a recent article by Taylor Hatmaker (http://www.dailydot.com/technology/ello-facebook-real-names-policy/), they write:
“That avalanche was prompted by Facebook’s crackdown on users accounts that it suspects might be using a name in violation of its terms of service, which includes any name not matching a user’s legal documents. (The deeply problematic policy disproportionately affects members of the LGBTQ community for reasons that we’ve stated before, so it’s no surprise that queer Facebookers are fed up and leading the charge.)”
Honestly, I probably could have done another few years of Facebook in the background of my life, even after knowing that they were collecting data on me to sell/distribute for profit to advertisers, and even after knowing full well that the individual privacy of their 1.3 billion database has never been a huge concern for them, and even after knowing that you lose your image rights once uploaded to Facebook databanks. BUT there’s a limit to everything, and Facebook broke that straw.
Social responsibility should never be compromised by corporate agenda and its hunger for profit. It is our job as active participants to vote in through subscription or unsubscription, and to quit wallowing in the apathy of standards set before us. So I say good-bye, good riddance Facebook, you’ve really been not that great, and super underwhelming.
Next: Where to go and how to meet people. Hello hello ELLO.