And so, after wrestling with a decision that would have been unthinkable 12 months ago, I decided to turn in my passport to (reportedly the third largest country in the world after China and India) Facebook.
I realise the over-dramatic tone I’m taking already, but it’s precisely the reason that I don’t believe it to be dramatic that made the decision so easy at last.
So why would a communications person, and one that has talked a lot about Facebook, quit it? For me, it’s a personal decision based around claiming some ‘me’ space back. I still understand its power for marketing, and the importance to integrate it in a comms strategy – and I will still be wading in it as part of my work.
It’s just for personal use, I wanted to get off the train.
I wrote a list of things I used Facebook for, and they were depressingly slight:
- To talk about the work I do (okay…)
- To overshare
- To ‘Like’ the things my ‘Friends’ write in their statuses; in lieu of a phonecall, visit, or a one to one email
- To be voluntarily marketed at: by bands I’ve seen, films I’ll never re-watch, bars I frequent, products I buy, and even – by friends
- To stare at pictures of cats doing stupid things
- To network
Of all of the above, I only see value in the last one – and I’m convinced I can continue this one outside of Facebook.
I resent the ubiquity of Facebook. I resent its arrogance; its ambitions to be the gateway to the rest of the internet; its labyrinthine privacy ‘controls’. I resent the way the company keeps making changes to Fan Pages and their reach, and the difficulties this brings for charities; and I began to resent the burning , itchy, little smartphone application in my pocket that became the first thing I checked in the morning, and the last thing I checked at night.
I was no longer wryly amused by half of Friends’ status updates moaning about Facebook and its latest privacy infringement (like it’s Facebook’s fault and not ours).
And I didn’t like the way I began to judge or like my friends a little less for something they wrote in their status. As they no doubt did with me.
Ultimately, I feel Facebook and I grew apart. We didn’t want the same things anymore. It wasn’t them. It was me.
It feels like closing a door, and getting some privacy again after a five year, eight month relationship that left me dependent.
But wait…I’m sounding melodramatic again. So…See you on Google Plus?*
Since remarking on Twitter and Instagram that I’d quit Facebook, I had a flurry of people saying that had done the same or were dying to but for some reason couldn’t let go yet (keeping touch with family was frequently given). Facebook beware; there is a turning tide.