Why I quit Facebook

Disclaimer:

I imagine not many people will find this interesting but I like to write down all of my thoughts sometimes, and I thought why not share them here. I don’t write particularly well or in a cohesive manner, and I tend to blabber on and rant. So I’m just giving you a heads up.



I finally quit Facebook. It’s something I have thought about doing for a long time (as I’m sure a lot of people have), but yesterday I finally bit the bullet. It seems strange that I have strong enough feelings about this that I feel compelled to write a post, but that’s just it - this whole Facebook thing is strange.


I am fed up with the way Facebook is encroaching on the real world, and how it affects your interactions. When you say you’re leaving Facebook, people think you are actually insane. They can’t actually fathom why someone would want to leave it. Isn’t that absolutely crazy? That people are actually confused and shocked by the simple fact that you don’t want to be a part of Facebook anymore. That is a reason to leave in itself. Facebook has permeated our lives so much that people can’t imagine being off Facebook. Isn’t it kind of disgusting that being a member of Facebook has become some kind of social responsibility? That people think you’re strange for not being on it, perhaps even that you’re (ironically) being anti-social. I hate the feeling of obligation when it’s not warranted, and I’m happy to be free of it.


I think that one of the main reasons you feel like staying is because it is easy to stay in touch with people. That is probably the one reason that kept me on as long as I did, especially as I live in another country now and the majority of my friends are therefore abroad. But at the end of the day, you will have better interactions because you’re not on Facebook. Your real friends will stay in touch with you (there’s phone, email, Whatsapp etc), and vice versa. Everyone else, well you won’t be missing anything.


One of the main reasons (for me) is the constant distraction it provides, and the quality of that distraction. Recently I’ve found myself checking it a lot. Many short, pointless bursts of time-wasting. Waiting for the train to arrive, check Facebook. Waiting for a friend to arrive at a bar, check Facebook. Going to sleep, check Facebook one last time. And recently it hit me. Every time I do this, I am reading utter shit. 90% of people on Facebook aren’t my friends, not really. They’re people from school who I’ll most likely never see again, people I met once at a party, sometimes people I haven’t even met, etc etc. Put bluntly, people I don’t really care about. Even the ones that I do care about post complete drivel a lot of the time. Sometimes I see something interesting and that’s great, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. Now you might think it’s just the quality of my ‘friends’ but I get the impression that a lot of people feel this way. It’s because Facebook has developed in such a way that many people share anything and everything (sometimes with no interaction at all, thanks “frictionless sharing”), not the things that truly matter.


Another reason is that I’m tired of being a product, a commodity sold to others. I know that people will compare this to Google but at the end of the day I am (very) happy with the services I receive from Google and I’m safe in the knowledge that my information isn’t sold to others. My data is used by _them_ to serve up personalised ads, and that’s ok with me. Facebook on the other hand sells your data to 3rd parties, and that I really don’t agree with. And this is what it all comes down to really. Every new feature designed to allow you to share more and more, diluting the whole concept that Facebook was founded on, is just to provide more data to be sold. It’s not about you or your friends, providing a better experience or enriching your life (wish I knew some Zuckerberg soundbites to throw in here). It’s about mining every last detail of your life in order to be sold to others in order to appease shareholders and investors. I haven’t even mentioned how ads and promoted posts are becoming more and more intrusive and spammy, but I don’t think I need to write about that as everyone has experienced it.


At the end of day, I’m not even sure if I’ll stay off it for good. There must be some doubt in me, that’s why I hit deactivate and not delete. But for now I am very happy with the decision. If you don’t already think I’m strange or an idiot this next part might tip you over the edge, as it may seem hypocritical (although I would disagree).


I’m going to start using Google+. I’ve never really posted much in the past, and I won’t start posting more now either because at the end of the day, barely anyone I know uses it. However I have been using it more and more. I use the review pages a lot, always clicking through from Google search or Maps. I think that side of things is brilliant. I’ve started using Hangouts, and have even basically forced some people to use it just by messaging them on that instead of Whatsapp. Not to mention drawing a few people in with the video call feature. The other factor for me is that recently I’ve started reading through Google+, and I find I am reading genuinely interesting stuff. I think it started around the time they launched communities, I joined a few photography ones for example and I really enjoy reading through those. Not only that but I find my stream has a lot of interesting stuff to read.


I love the recent redesign of Google+, perhaps that I now enjoy using it is another reason why I decided to leave Facebook. Not only that but I am becoming more and more impressed by Google’s ability to keep innovating, staying (in my opinion) one step ahead of Facebook, even if Facebook does ‘borrow’ a lot of features after Google adds them. Google+ isn’t going to replace Facebook for me (in a sense). I’m not going to see what my friends are up to on there, nor am I going to start posting on there myself. It’s not like Facebook, and that’s exactly why I’m going to start spending time on there.


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