I’ve been pondering this decision for about two or three years. I think I almost left in 2014 but there was still enough pull, probably from immediate family and my sons going of to college, to keep me around. I’m going to articulate my personal reasons why. I won’t judge those who stay, I promise! There’s real value in Facebook, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed for nine years and they wouldn’t have almost 2 billion users.
Facebook brings on distress
I’m sure this escalated during the last election season, but more often than not when I look at my Facebook feed I come away distressed or frustrated. The political debate is so polarized. It drains me emotionally. People on all sides of the debate are primarily focused with sharing links and pithy commentary to support their own views. I get annoyed by all sides of the debate, though I tend to only get angry with the Trump supporters.
This isn’t truly Facebook’s fault, and I take ownership for the feelings I have when I’m there. I can also take ownership for the actions I take to resolve this issue.
Facebook is about connections, but the relationships don’t feel real
Facebook is a surface-level connection, allowing all of us to share just what we want the world to see. Some are very good at being open and honest, but most of us relish in only showing our best selves. This is human nature.
I enjoy seeing happiness unfold in my Facebook friend network. There’s nothing wrong with photos of travel adventures, accomplishments of offspring, the latest cocktail someone crafted. I also appreciate the ability to keep up with friends and family that are remote. This is probably what I’ll miss the most.
What I usually don’t see is the struggles that these friends and family are going through. Relying on Facebook as a way to stay in contact is a big mistake, and I plan to change my approach to engaging with my extended family and close friends.
Facebook breaks the Internet
I’m approaching 50+ year old gray hair dude status (get off my lawn!), but part of the cred that comes with that age is a clear remembering of what the world was like before and after the Internet (and the web). It should be an open network. We should be able to search for interesting content, share it at the level of privacy we care about, without a business standing in the middle. This was reinforced while Julie and I were in Cambodia and Vietnam sharing what amounted to photo blogs of our adventures on Facebook which I think our social network enjoyed. I’d like to be able to easily share those with other people, but the process is difficult. This is my own fault, I admit. I bought my own domain and started this blog almost 15 years ago for the very reason that I knew I could own the content, the URLs, regardless of who I chose to host. I think I’ve used 4 or 5 different hosting providers and blogging platforms during that time, mostly invisible to you the reader. This post is a re-commitment to using this platform to share.
Facebook does not fit with this model. They own the content. They deny search engines from searching deep into their platform. Others have explained this better than I can. Dave Winer said it well. So did John Gruber. Then Dave even gave some suggestions for how Facebook could get back in his good graces.
One thing I’ll miss – the communities I’ve joined in Facebook, mostly revolving around my hobbies and interests, have been fun to be a part of. Still, Facebook very much gets in the way of what I see from these communities, deciding what I will and won’t see. I’d rather be more intentional seeing what I want to see, when I want to see it, and Facebook should have no part of that.
Where This Leaves Me, How to Find Me
I think I’ll stick around on Instagram for a while. The content there seems to remain mostly apolitical, and I love seeing the photos and experiences others are having.
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