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Leaving Facebook is easy and fun

posted by Joshua on March 26, 2012 in Blog, Tips
10 responses

I expect to log into Facebook once more — to message my connections there that they won’t be able to find me there, why, and where to find me instead — then I’ll leave for good.

Why leave?

I knew I wanted to leave after Facebook made its privacy policy too intrusive for my tastes. I felt they had too much control over my personal data.

Facebook is creepy, getting creepier, and shows no sign of slowing down.

Free cost does not mean I’m getting something for nothing. I came to see I was the product being sold to advertisers. What benefit I got — networking online — I realize I’m better off without, because I find myself more social without Facebook.

I still appreciate online networking. I use Diaspora — a peer-to-peer network where you own your data. Here’s my public stream. Like early Wikipedia, it’s small and has mostly geeks. I expect it will grow by respecting user’s privacy and freedom.

I remember people in 2003 calling Wikipedia doomed, saying it could never grow. Now it’s the #6 site in the internet. Even so, also like early Wikipedia, I don’t expect non-geeks to join Diaspora much until its size and features grow.

I expect Facebook, Google+, and other centralized sites, in an arms race to profit more off users’ data, will drive more users to Diaspora. I hope to see you there. Join by clicking “sign up” here and choosing a site near you.

(Edit: Diaspora hasn’t taken off so well either. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.)

Why now?

I’d thought about leaving since the cost of Facebook’s creepiness overtook the benefit of its usefulness, but I felt like I needed to plan.

Forcing the timeline on me unilaterally told me to act sooner. If only I’d realized how easy and fun leaving would be, I’d have left earlier.

It turns out I didn’t need to plan.

Was leaving hard?

Leaving was easy!

And fun, because I socialize more in person!

And effective, because I do other things I value more.

Plenty of sites say how to quit Facebook. What told me to do it now was reading how many people find the biggest surprise in leaving Facebook is how little leaving affected them. Like them, I found leaving a non-issue.

Did I lose anything by leaving?

No. On the contrary, I gained more than I lost, mainly with the extra free time and sense of freedom.

My life seems no less full, so whatever invitations or group activity I lost, I more than made up for with more direct socializing and getting other things done.

I’ll find out more when I log in for the last time to message my contacts that I left and how to find me. I’m open to finding out I missed something important, finding the benefit of staying outweighs the cost of losing control of my personal data and doing business with a creepy company.

What will my parting message be?

Hi <name>,

Facebook got too creepy for me so I left. It messes with my personal data too much. More importantly, I found the transition of leaving trivial and life without it better than with.

I don’t want to leave you, though, so I’m logging on one last time to let my contacts here know how to find me. My email is [my email] and my web page is joshuaspodek.com. I post to it daily, including a post on how leaving Facebook was easy and fun — http://joshuaspodek.com/leaving-facebook-easy-and-fun.

I switched to Diaspora, a peer-to-peer network where you own your data. Here’s my public stream. Like early Wikipedia, it’s small and has mostly geeks. I expect it will grow by respecting user’s privacy and freedom.

I remember people in 2003 calling Wikipedia doomed, saying it could never grow. Now it’s the #6 site in the internet. Even so, also like early Wikipedia, I don’t expect non-geeks to join Diaspora much until its size and features grow.

I expect Facebook, Google+, and other centralized sites, in an arms race to profit more off users’ data, will drive more users to Diaspora. I hope to see you there. Email me if you want to connect there.

For that matter email me for any reason. I’d love to hear from you.

I repost my Diaspora comments to Twitter — http://twitter.com/#!/spodek — but I expect to leave them eventually too.

EDIT: people are sending me tons of articles about people leaving Facebook. I don’t think it’s a trend so much as a rational response to a company accelerating its invasive creepiness. I don’t see people following each other so much as running away from something scary. Anyway, I like how this Village Voice article explains the situation.

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10 responses on “Leaving Facebook is easy and fun

  1. Welcome back to the world where like is a verb and friend is a noun! Just make sure that once you leave you don’t look back, since you need to not touch your profile for 14 straight days in order for your FB profile to be inactive. It’s so popular as a law enforcement tool that I am sometimes afraid Homeland Security is going to make it mandatory- that and the Telescreen. Status update: Our dystopian future is now.

    • Thank you! I have one last visit back there before leaving for good to give people that message. I’m concerned because of how long it will take to message them all. I hope to personalize each person because they’re all friends, independent of the communication medium between us. Even at, say, thirty seconds per message, that’s hours!

      I’m also open to finding out I missed something important. My science background makes me curious about the unknown and open to the unexpected. I’ll post again on the topic after the last login.

      I presume you’ve seen this onion video: http://www.theonion.com/video/cias-facebook-program-dramatically-cut-agencys-cos,19753

      • Read the fine print! I think after you log in for your closing remarks you have to re-submit your request to delete your profile, since logging back in within 14 days of submitting a deletion request actually re-activates the account and invalidates the original request. The lawyers who wrote that one are evil. Gee, I sure am glad I went to law school so I can figure out Facebook rules…

        It seems that now that El Bulli is closed, the ILFBP (I Left Facebook Piece) has picked up where the IAAEBP (I Ate At El Bulli Piece) has left off. I am even guilty of one myself! http://www.grassfedduck.com/eims/mark-zuckerberg-slayer-of-chickens-enemy-of-mother-duck/

        Btw, I had never seen that Onion piece but WOW! It looks so much like actual Fox News that I almost couldn’t tell.

  2. if u wanna leave …is it necessary to proclaim it to the world…

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