I’ve just deleted my Facebook account, and it’s so very liberating to have dispensed with all that vacuous nonsense.
I was an early adopter, signing up just out of curiosity when it was it in its infancy, then leaving it dormant because I didn’t really know what it was for.
Then it hit the big time, and very soon I found myself with a whole roster of new ‘friends.’
Sometimes I thought it was good: old acquaintances in other countries found me and we would exchange messages. Family members too could keep in touch.
But very soon I found myself pressured into accepting friend requests out of political expediency from people at work I dislike.
Then people from school who I didn’t really know would appear, and I would casually (and foolishly) accept them. Likewise large numbers of my students. The vast majority of both types would submit friend requests, only to never engage in a single word of communication once connected. Why did they bother, if they didn’t want to get in touch?
Far from facilitating interaction, then, Facebook has proved to be an exercise in futility.
I’ve no desire to post anything on my ‘wall,’ since I’m effectively muzzled by the nature of the people in my friends list, and would never ‘share’ anything even remotely personal. Similarly, I have little interest in the meaningless drivel posted by others.
So, what is the point of Facebook?
I have never met or got to know anyone new there.
I’ve had next to no meaningful interaction with my family or ‘friends.’
I don’t need it as a platform for my ideas and thoughts, since I have two websites and two blogs for that.
Even if faced with loneliness, these are no substitute for real face-to-face human interaction.
I would have got rid of this shallow and superficial all-pervasive monster long ago, but I kept thinking ‘what if someone wanted to find me, what if friends want to send a message – shouldn’t I just leave it open for that?’
Now, I realise, this is unnecessary.
If anyone wants to get in touch with me, there’s this thing called email. It’s private. It’s easy to use. My friends and family have this channel already.
Likewise, if someone else wants to find me, an internet search will work wonders.
Being part of Facebook is not only a pointless waste of time, it’s allowing yourself to be sucked into the paranoid creation of some dysfunctional megalomaniacs.
Think this is an exaggeration? See what happens when you try to leave.
First, try to find the ‘deactivate’ button buried somewhere in your settings menu.
You might assume that pressing this leads to your account (and all of your personal data) being deleted, but oh no.
You are transported to a page where Facebook tries to emotionally blackmail you. Almost unbelievably, a selection of your friend’s images are displayed, together with a message that they will miss you if you leave.
One might be tempted into thinking this was a joke, but no: despite having five hundred million souls signed up, they can’t bear it if just one slips away, and they’ll do anything to keep you there.
So, assuming the blackmail doesn’t work, and you decide to go anyway, you then make the astounding discovery that ‘deactivating’ your account doesn’t mean ‘deleting’ it at all.
Facebook wants to make it as difficult as possible for you to leave, and thus ‘deactivation’ just means that while your mugshot and profile are removed from the public gaze, all of your photos and data are stored away somewhere so that you can revive your account any time by just logging in again.
That’s right, they’re going to keep your stuff for you just in case you ‘change your mind.’
To really shut down your account you’re going to have to work a little harder : there’s no button for this – you actually have to submit a request, and even then they don’t immediately shut things down – they wait two weeks, in case you have ‘second thoughts’ about your rash and unreasonable desire to regain control of your privacy and start communicating with people the good old fashioned way, by using your vocal chords and looking into their eyes.