I am (kind of) done with Facebook.
I’ve been trying to break up with it for quite a while now, and in a few moments of weakness, it has lured me back. And suddenly, I remember why I ran away in the first place.
I remember those early days, when I was able to reconnect with people I knew in first grade, whose names I barely remembered until I saw them on the screen. So exciting! For about 5 seconds, really.
When you start reconnecting with people from the past, you may discover things about them that you’d rather left as a mystery. I’m not sure how many people I’ve ended up connecting with and then quickly unfollowing, but it’s quite a lot. It’s left me feeling disappointed, sad, sometimes even despondent, to see childhood friends, high school friends, college friends – who I’d once had some bond with – turn into people who have absolutely nothing in common with (or worse, turn into pretty awful humans).
It can also be dangerous to become Facebook friends with work colleagues. I love the idea of “bringing your whole self to work,” but let’s be honest, there are plenty of aspects of your personal life that it’s much better to keep separate from your work life.
I’ve found a few cool group pages over the years that have been enjoyable, and seemed innocuous enough, but how free can you be with what you post to a group of complete strangers? I once posted a picture of my cat who’d caught a chipmunk. My petsitter had sent it to me while I was away, and reported that kitty had released the poor thing and it ran off. I figured the cat lover page I was a member of would enjoy it – a few people did, and then I got so shamed for what someone thought was celebrating cruelty, I took the post down and felt like a monster for days.
It began to be a never-ending chore to try to keep up with all the posts of friends; to make sure I was liking everything that I should be liking, lest I seem like I didn’t care, then becoming somewhat resentful of the obligation. And when you actually speak to someone you know and they bring up something that they expect you to be aware of because they posted it – why should that be my responsibility? I don’t expect you to keep up with my life without me being the one to catch you up.
So, I skulked off, not making any big proclamations as I’ve seen some do. It was almost accidental – I’d somehow managed to log out of the app on my phone and then forgot my password, so rather than reset it, I just….ghosted Facebook.
Facebook wasn’t about to let me go that easily. The emails started almost immediately, tantalizing me by reminding me that so and so just posted an update! Look what you are missing! The names that Facebook would drop started out with the people I’m in pretty close touch with, meaning that I still felt like I knew what was going on. Then they upped the ante, and started reminding me about some other folks whose feeds had dropped off my radar, trying anything to ensnare me again.
And then there are all those small businesses and organizations whose sole digital presence is…on Facebook. I really cannot abide that at this point in time. Sure, have a Facebook page for your business, but please do not make your prospective and current customers and contacts have a Facebook login in order to find out more about you. It’s presumptuous, and just unwise. You can make a really basic site very easily. Take the time.
Am I making a big mistake? The jury is out. I’ve contemplated creating several other profiles so that I can start over and cultivate a different presence. I think I need to stay somewhat connected to what’s going on out there, but perhaps without so much of the noise — although when I did create another profile just to be able to view those “only-on-Facebook-and-no-where-else” pages, I was inundated with all sorts of suggestions that I found incredibly annoying.
I guess I will give it some time. I’m on other platforms where I’m more of a lurker, and I don’t much follow people I know as much as I follow brands and influencers that I like.
I do get the occasional hankering to put something out there — some funny sign I stumble across, some witticism that I concoct — but if I’m patient, the feeling will pass.
Maybe I’ll take you back someday, Facebook. But I think I can do better.
No hard feelings….?