For those of you who are not my Facebook friends, the tl;dr: No, I don’t work at Facebook (lol), this has nothing to do with me leaving a job. I’m deleting my personal Facebook account to pursue focus and clarity in my life.
I’m leaving Facebook. Sadly, I feel compelled to write a blog post about it. My exit has nothing to do with a desire to disengage from culture, or because I seek to remove all social media from my life. These would be valid reasons, but ultimately are not the reason.
I have come to find that Facebook has very little value as a social network to me. I want to pursue my faith in Christ and improve my skills as a software engineer. Facebook is an impediment to these goals for me. I cannot ignore the fact that a majority of my adult life has been spent on this platform, and that Facebook as a product has been a major part of my life. That being said, I am moving forward with deleting my Facebook profile after six years of use. I hope to pursue the goals above with greater focus as a result of this decision. Below are some realizations that led to this decision.
My growth as a person is not reflected by my Facebook profile. I was a very different person when I was 16. Some of my interests have completely changed since I started using Facebook in 2009. Since Facebook is by necessity only as representative of you as you make it, I have realized how little my Facebook tells you about me. Heck, you could learn more about me from my LinkedIn profile! Facebook tells you some of the things I am passionate about, sure. Nevertheless, the person I am today is not clearly reflected by my Facebook profile.
By using Facebook to discover “more” about who a person is, I end up perpetuating the cycle of crafting the person Facebook gives me. Facebook is only as descriptive as the amount of time and information you put into it. In Facebook’s vacuum, it is easy to think you know someone based on a controversial post or a Page like. Time after time, it is conversation that has undone these preconceived notions I have formed. It is truly the most productive way to connect with people. Friends are not made by reading their Facebook profile, but by spending time with them and getting to know them. I have become more and more inactive on Facebook, so the person I am is very much out of sync with what you see on this platform. As if being out of sync was bad enough (my current profile picture is three years old, for example), Facebook makes me relive my cringeworthy self with its new Memories feature. I find this feature jarring, mainly because it ignores growth and cherrypicks memories that are sometimes best forgotten.
Facebook is not an essential application in my life anymore. Time to put the user hat on. The memories feature, as mentioned above, is annoying and unpredictable. Facebook Messenger feels redundant with the multiple messaging platforms I am way more active on. I will probably miss every event you invite me to simply because I want separation between Facebook and my calendar. I do read articles that people post on Facebook, but I find most useless (cough Buzzfeed cough) or inflammatory (where I end up making more preconceived notions from a Facebook comment section). So news is maybe the one feature of value Facebook provides. Nevertheless, I already have applications I use for news that are far superior at delivering it (Pocket Recommendations, Hacker News, etc).
There will be drawbacks to this decision. Facebook groups have made it easy to make message boards that are quick and help you stay “in the loop”. This decision will mean greater latency for me accessing this information. A good side effect of this will be fostering more conversation without using Facebook’s platform to do it. I only see this as a sidestep rather than a total loss.
Will I ever come back to Facebook? My best answer to this question is: maybe. I say maybe because I truthfully do not know what Facebook will do next. Maybe they will add some feature of value to me. One thing that I can say with certainty is that the profile that currently exists will be deleted permanently, and I will not be back this year or next year.
I want to use 2016 to make friends without Facebook. I’m excited to see where that will take me.
Stay in touch! Check out my sidebar for my Twitter and email, those will still be around. I hope to be hearing from you all through different mediums, with the best case scenario being in-person conversation!