This morning I downloaded the archives from both google+ and facebook. Then I deactivated the accounts. I’ve got to say that I’m very disappointed in the way facebook “archives” their stuff…about 90% of the posts I’d made were missing, and all of last year’s content was not included in the archive. Oh well.
A lot of it has to do with the time I’ve spent on both networks. I read a lot of what people post, respond to them, and carry on several conversations at a time. Multi-tasking is all well and good, but Facebook was starting to feel like a networking meeting, stop in for a word or two here, get an appetizer with that person there, nod politely at this other person. There were very few meaningful conversations, and when I’m spending that much time, I’d prefer to get a little deeper when conversing with folks. Besides, if I want to share links, I’ve got this ‘ere blog.
That was the main reason. The other reason is the commodification of my conversations. By that I mean that they are using the space that I speak with my friends, and the subject of what I speak to my friends about, and then serving up advertising based on that. It’s a savvy business practice, but I don’t have to be party to it. I know all free services do the same thing, but that’s why I have my own website and my own email. It’s a small principled stand, but in essence I’m saying “This space is mine, I pay for the privilege, and if you discuss anything with me, it will not be sold to the highest bidder for cash money.” Obviously the blog here is open to the public, but I’m not making money off of it. The last few months I’ve been considering that issue: why am I spending so much time making other people rich? By the simple act of conversing with people through facebook, facebook makes money. Yes, they provide the service through which that communication happens but that trade off was no longer worth it for me.
Also, I have to consider what social networking is doing to my growth as a human being in society. In the past, people have moved on from their relationships (friend/family/love) because of time/distance. People change. Facebook provides a space where people don’t HAVE to change. They will always post the same things, becoming entrenched further in their opinions, becoming angry with anyone who challenges what they have built. The adjustments we make due to growing up and out are crystallized and frozen in time because facebook provides a space where we don’t need to grow or adjust. We can continue stalking those crushes from high school, those famous people we want to emulate, those old enemies. Letting go of these things is made nigh impossible when we can see their activity in two clicks. Society will adjust, sure, but I worry that constant contact with those around us is retarding the adjustment or the growth of humans as individuals. Also, what fun is catching up when people have facebook showing us what everyone is doing constantly?
I know that a lot of people say they’re junking their account and never coming back, but that’s not my style. I may be back (maybe on weekends?), but for now I’m done. I’ve been slowly extricating myself from facebook for the last month or so, trying to cut back on posting to my board, keeping my comments made to other people’s posts. I still found I put in too much time. Much as there are people on there that I want to stay in contact with, my concerns with what facebook has done/is doing overshadowed that. Besides, there’s always email.