The Long Walk Backwards - Leaving Facebook


I have said in the past that I would like to leve Facebook. In fact, in one post I even said that I would start retreating from the behemoth, but I never really wanted to. I think that Facebook served a purpose – you know, reconnecting me with Connie and giving my future wife. So I can’t be too harsh on the place, really. Though, despite this incredible gift Facebook has eroded all things that make it likeable, and slowly and surely it’s became a waste of time and space.

The first thing that Facebook did wrong was become so powerful. Successful websites come and go, but I feel that Facebook has reached a critical mass – it is so big it can’t really fall down now. It’s unlikely to go the way of Myspace and Lycos if they keep doing what they are doing right now, which is pervading all aspects of someone’s life before putting it into monetary terms. Like the Open Graph sharing aspect, or the ability to link almost all types of media using Facebook (but with an interspatial link that registers with Facebook anytime someone goes through it).  Then there are the games that million of people play that will keep people coming back to Facebook and keep companies developing games for that.

The funny thing is that this is exactly the problem I have with Facebook – on my feed there are people sharing nonsense and fluff, apps adding updates about things I have no interest in, and even worse the site has started to look so dreadful and bloated it might be impossible to find things that you want to do on it.

In a roundabout way – I am over Facebook. And slowly, over time, I am going to delete it. I am firstly going to cull a lot of my “friends”. There are four types of people on my Facebook friends list: my close friends and family, my colleagues and people I worked with, my “internet” friends from Twitter and message boards, and people I used to be in contact with but now I don’t.  Back when I used to get regular requests from people finding Facebook for the first time if they didn’t contact me within 72 hours of friending me they were deleted. I stopped doing this because I don’t use Facebook enough to be on it all the time.

The first thing that I am going to do is start removing people that I don’t want to have on there. It feels hard to delete friends (clever Facebook) but it shouldn’t be – just because I am not keeping you on my internet profile doesn’t mean I hate you. Indeed, if we are friends you already have my other methods of contact, either on my phone, email or even on the other social network Twitter (more on that below). This will mean that the network of people that I am getting information from and giving information to is limited and personal.

This step will be done and then tested – if it makes a dramatic change on the relevancy of my Facebook page then it might be enough to change my mind. If not, however (and this is where my suspicions lie) then the following will be followed.

Secondly I will stop posting to Facebook. I rarely do this anyway (bar the occasional self promoting message or the loving cross-post from Instagram) but the other things, like photos, are easier to stop. See, Facebook doesn’t have any copyright control on photos, whereas Flickr does and I prefer that one – if people want to see my photos, I’ll given them the ability to see them in High Quality with proper information about them.

Thirdly... I will stop going to Facebook. I did this a few years ago in the Exile but have already deleted the Facebook app from my phone. I don’t miss looking at no more than my hands would miss hold a cigarette – the motion of opening Facebook is more tantalising than the actual moment of opening it.

If I do the entire of the above and still feel disconnected from the site there is only one further option; deletion.

Note: many reading this will wonder a few things:

The first is surely to be “this can’t be that big a deal! Just do it already!” Well, I actually do like Facebook for contacting friends. It’s good – I just think that it’s losing its focus and I want to rein back my control to see if it makes a difference.

The second is likely to be “you have Twitter! You cried when it was deleted last year! Why not get rid of it too?”  I answer this query by simply saying that I control what happens on Twitter more, who feeds into my feed, and more importantly it’s not full of bollocks just yet. Indeed, it’s got scope for breaking this in the future, but the limitation of 140 characters ensures no games or applications fill my feed with nonsense.