I never knew I would feel compelled enough to quit Facebook one day. I also has no idea that quitting the social network that 500 million people are using, would be this hard. First thing you have to know is, you can’t actually delete your account. The Facebook powers only allow you to disable it. It’s hard to find the button to do that too. You need to go under account settings to look for it. And when you do hit disable, you’re asked where you’re sure you really want to and you have to give them a reason why. You can’t proceed till you click one of the reasons. Can they get any more annoying? When you finally get through all that, they guilt trip you in a major way showing pictures of random friends and telling you all these people will miss you. It really, really sucks! And guilt trips are one of my pet peeves.
After disabling the account you know what’s really frustrating. If you so much as log on again to just see if you were really deactivated, your account is activated again and it’s as if you never left. I wanted to scream. It was as if I had never left, except that all my privacy settings were back to square one – open for everyone and friends of friends, to see. Of course I disabled the account quickly again and this time found out that I should resist the temptation to log on for at least 14 days and only then will be account be deleted (I still have my doubts because I have major trust issues with the billionaires behind Facebook. I feel they are a business, out to get us hooked so that they can continue to used our information and make money through targetted advertising. And just like cigarette companies, they are fully aware of how addictive they are.)
Leaving Facebook feels like you are abandoning your friends. The moment after quitting, all I felt is that I am missing out on so much. I have abandoned my friends. Will they be mad at me now? Will they totally forget me, now that I’m not on Facebook? I informed my friends and contacted them through email to let them know that we can still communicate, but I still felt lousy and isolated. Facebook gave me a false sense of security, that I was keeping in touch with my friends and that my social life was active when in fact it was just virtual. I feel this gaping hole now, but I need to persist and continue contacting my friends the old-fashioned way instead (I can’t imagine email is now considered old-fashioned). I don’t have the convenience of Facebook and have to make more of an effort now, but deep down I know it’ll be worth it. Now I know a little of how hard it is for chain smokers to quit cold turkey. And I have to admit I have an addictive personality and the way I was continually logging on to check status updates and photos was like a chain smoker or alcoholic. It was getting to be a disease!
Before Facebook we did not have to rely on status updates and online photo albums to know what was happening in our friends’ lives. How did we get so dependant on those? And I have an addictive personality so at times I felt like quite the stalker, catching up on friends’ status updates and photos. Some of these were not even my close friends. You realize who your real close friends are when you quit. They are the people who you still want to contact in real life outside of Facebook. They are the people I truly miss.
I also came to the realization that I don’t need Facebook to keep in touch with my family although they are all on it. I see them quite often already and that’s a comforting realization. I even regularly contact my cousin who lives overseas through email so I am not worried about losing touch with her. She’s getting fed up of Facebook privacy issues too, which is definitely a great affirmation for me that I have taken the right step.
My sister, mum, cousins and aunts are totally addicted to this new Facebook tetris game – I forget what it’s called. It’s taking over their lives because it’s time I turn around, they glued to the screen playing this game. I must confess that I too was addicted to Pet Society which was soon replaced by Farmville. But I realized the virtual farm was taking over my life and quit cold turkey in a pact with my cousin. It was fun while it lasted but it was getting out of hand, when I worried about crops withering and needed to log on to make sure they didn’t! Those were crazy times and we will remember them fondly.
Anyway here’s why I think Facebook is evil. I have already witnessed two couples breaking up, live on Facebook. A breakup is devastating enough. A breakup for all your hundreds of contacts to witness is a nightmare. It’s even more awkward when there are fights on Facebook and then the couple gets back together again. They unfriend and then refriend each other, and lucky for you if you didn’t take sides at the time. It’s a good thing my partner always tells me to never get involved in a couple’s tiff, because only the two people within the relationship are qualified to handle it, and when they get back together, which is often the case and you’ve taken a side, you end up looking like such a fool. Some things are best left private.
I find it draining when my personal space is invaded by Facebook and I get all these random requests to add people I don’t even know. And besides guilt trips, I am someone who is unable to reject people. It just feels so cruel. Facebook makes me feel cruel when I ignore invites. I also wonder if those people are mad at me. It’s just so silly and unnecessary.
Most of all I have an issue with Facebook is blatant privacy violation. They keep changing the privacy settings and making the default setting more open. They just keep changing their rules on us and they seem to have all the power to do so. Our information is clearly being used for targetted advertising. Even after we disable our accounts our information is still kept on their servers. I truly regret uploading any photos on it.
Watching the facebook movie ‘The Social Network’ was the catalyst that spurred me towards my Facebook suicide. The movie about the Facebook founder revealed that the social networking site was created by a genious who had low EQ (he was horrible to people) but high IQ, who set up this device to help his own social standing at Harvard. He even betrayed his best friend in the process.
The irony of it all is that I used to be the one to persuade family and friends who were not already on Facebook to join. I even helped my uncles and aunts to set up their Facebook accounts. It’s all so embarrassing.
I hope I get over this hump and get back to meeting my friends over a cup of tea in real life and replace the hours spent on Facebook on reading real books instead. Please wish me luck.
Don’t think I’ll be quitting YouTube any day soon though.