It seems like a social media rite of passage to write about quitting Facebook. Many hate its privacy (or anti-privacy) policies. Then there’s the company’s brazen admittance that it messed with its users emotions. I get it. I’m not a fan (friend?), either. I’ve deactivated my account before, and I haven’t had the mobile app in years. But I still have a profile, and I still like and occasionally make comments, but my updates are minimal. It’s Facebook Purgatory.
Lack of Choice
I used to enjoy Facebook. It had a cleaner look than MySpace, plus it was simple to share with my friends. All the “likes” and comments were addictive, too. It was the perfect online profile, and a fine companion to the blogs I enjoyed reading.
And then the bloom began to fade.
As Neo said, in The Matrix Reloaded, “the problem is choice.”
Facebook’s algorithms determine what I see on my “feed,” ostensibly based on what I comment and like. Pictures can (and are) used to sell advertising, and pictures remain at the site’s disposal even if you delete a profile, as long as a friend still interacts with the photo. I find that level of meddling intrusive. It also leads into the second reason why I don’t share.
I have a wonderful toddler. She says funny things like “double-do” instead of “W” and dances adorably. I’d love to share all of that with the world.
But I also know that, as my friend Mackenze McAleer says, “the Internet is written in pen.” (It’s a paraphrase of author Dave Kekich’s 94th Credo.) I don’t necessarily want to post tons of images and videos of my child without knowing exactly what Facebook is doing with her image and information. I am not alone in being a part of the “baby blackout,” but I’m not advocating that my friends and family join me.
Facebook is also a public company. It is now wedded, forever, to making a profit from each user. It makes half-hearted attempts at saying it protects its members’ privacy (the privacy
dinosaur mascot) but really, it wants all of its users to share and share publicly. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of all that free intellectual property?
If my closest family and friends didn’t use Facebook, I would delete my profile. As long as my family and friends have a presence there, so will I. But there are other ways to share content. This post is the first using the Rainmaker Platform. The content developed here is mine, and I have freedom to basically build a mini-Facebook with a forum, document library, and even password-protected pages. I’ve been working on the engine of my site for awhile now, and I hope the platform makes content sharing (and delivery) seamless.
There may never be an ideal replacement for the Facebook-That-Was (although Ello looks intriguing). The Internet keeps changing and evolving, and so do its myriad platforms. For me, I hope that means a way out of Facebook Purgatory.
December 2014 Update: Well, turns out I decided to delete my profile, and start doing more content sharing here. Stay tuned!
Image credit: “Concept of dislike” ©Ohmaymay via Dreamstime