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May 10, 2010

One year without Facebook

I quit Facebook over a year ago. (I thought so little of it that I missed the anniversary.) I've considered logging back in just to scalp my friends' email addresses, but it seems the ones who are truly interested in keeping in touch already do. I've become the Facebook non-user among friends and coworkers and they get it. They understand why I am not on the social networking platform monster wearing advertiser's clothing.

While I miss keeping in touch with friends from the outer ripples of my life--friends from grade school, friends from Pennsylvania Governor's School for Teaching (PGST 2002), and out-of-state cousins--I can't go back. Not especially with all the recent hubbub about privacy. (That was among the reasons I quit in the first place.)

A great article from Wired sums up recent Facebook battles pretty well. The statement I agree with most...

Many of them [people on Facebook] may be fine having Facebook redefine their cultural norms, or just be too busy or lazy to leave. But in the internet I’d like to live in, we’d have that option, instead of being left with the choice of letting Facebook use us, or being left out of the conversation altogether. (emphasis added)
When people learn I'm not on Facebook anymore they express one of two things: ambivalence or envy. The ambivalent ones say they think it's good I made my own decision, but that they're happy with things on the site. The envious ones tell me they wish they could quit Facebook--as though Facebook was an addiction. (Is there a 12-step program for this yet?) Perhaps these expressions line up with what the Wired author suggested by saying we've got two choices: "letting Facebook use us" (here's where the ambivalent ones fit) "or being left out of the conversation" (here's where the envious ones fit).

I'm not interested in having my cultural mores defined for me. Call me selfish, but I'm living my life for myself... not the 499,999,999 other users of a single social networking platform monster. I get the idea of a community--and that's what Facebook once was, back in 2006--but the word "community" does not mean what Facebook represents. I feel sorry for anyone who believes that Facebook is a community at this point because the definition of community lays in stark contrast to the definition of Facebook as it currently operates.

I don't proclaim to be "holier than thou" by leaving Facebook. And I'm not a Luddite--I blog and make Flash videos and stay informed about the latest and greatest with my favorite gadgets. But I was there when Facebook fell apart in the face of its greed. I didn't like what I saw and took it upon myself to exit, stage right. Since leaving, I've seen so much more that I don't like about Facebook and I am so glad I left when I did.

Not being on Facebook has opened me up to the variety of technological "must-haves" that I can do without. I laugh a little when I read about people's attempts to do without technology in their lives. I think I could do it relatively easily, especially for someone my age. I don't use Facebook, I don't have cable or satellite television, I own only about 12 DVDs, I can shut down my computer without regret, and I have a cell phone that's got fewer features than my grandma's cell phone (mine doesn't have a camera or web access and I had texting shut off a few months back because I was getting spammed). Heck, I can even cook on an open fire.

Someone get me a log cabin and a duck call, I'm ready to do without.

Posted by KarissaKilgore at May 10, 2010 4:11 PM


Blogged here: http://jerz.setonhill.edu/weblog/2010/05/one_year_without_facebook/

Posted by: Karissa at May 11, 2010 10:04 AM

It seems others are catching on.

Posted by: Karissa at May 11, 2010 5:28 PM

Hi Karissa,

nice post! I agree with almost all you have said. I personally have not gone on Facebook for privacy concerns. There are so many little privacy invasions built into Facebook it's almost impossible to monitor them all.

One of my friends recently had her identity stolen and all her bank accounts emptied. Although this is not connected to Facebook it shows how easy it can be for people to hold of enough information to literally pretend to be you to official institutions and get away with it!

Posted by: Jair Jones at May 18, 2010 1:23 PM

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