A decade ago, in the distant 2004, the eventual worldwide sensation Facebook was founded and launched. Initially only available to a very select few, it’s been perhaps the hottest thing on the web ever since.
Later that same year, as a ripe college freshman attending the fine institution of UCSD, I was able to join with a school email address, and most of my peers did the same. At first we were only able to add classmates attending the same university, poke each other incessantly, and see which classes we were all attending. It was helpful on the rare occasions one
skipped had to miss class.
Over time, we were granted ability to add students at other universities, and at some point later also high school students. Finally, Facebook opened its doors to everyone. It has since grown into a giant. The latest count is at 864 million daily active users and 1.35 billion monthly active users, as of 9/2014. That’s quite a lot of people, really.
Ever since its inception, the social network has been questioned. First it was about whether it’ll manage to survive, and these days it’s more about when it’ll fail (and what will kill/succeed it). Its intentions and ethics are also constantly doubted. In spite of all my personal doubts and dislikes, I’ve used it this entire time, and spent quite a few of my waking hours browsing it.
I deactivated my account today.
The email Facebook would prefer not to send you.
Yes, I’m aware deactivating my account isn’t the same as deleting it.
I chose the former as I’d like to see how much I’ll miss the messaging and event features, which constituted a fair bit of my usage. If I don’t find myself missing them, I’ll simply log back in and delete the account entirely. (Yes, I’ve already downloaded my profile.) If I learn I don’t want to give those up, I’ll reactivate the account, delete as much personal information as I can, and continue to use it minimally. To make things easier on myself, I deleted the account and apps from my phone as well.
What Do I Hope to Gain?
Well, for starters, some of that time I simply couldn’t stop wasting by scrolling up and down my News Feed, clicking “Like” on an unnecessary number of posts I didn’t actually like. This isn’t necessarily Facebook’s fault, but is a problem for me nonetheless.
I’ve also found that post filtering makes for an incredibly limiting experience — I basically stopped seeing posts that weren’t about cars, motorcycles, cats, CrossFit, or liberal politics. While I’m quite fond of all five, at times I felt like my life was too consumed by them and nothing else.
The last thing I’m hoping to improve is my general level of annoyance. I know that having 684 “friends” (wow — I even deleted some 200 in the last few years) is my fault, and I should’ve realized a long time ago that it would make the experience worse. However, even dropping that number drastically — to below 200, for example — wouldn’t solve the fact that many people I quite like in person are simply assholes on the Internet. I’m not entirely sure why that’s the case, but many of those I’d keep even in my last 100 can’t seem to resist the urge to troll the living bejesus out of me whenever I post damn near anything. From innocuous car photos to polarizing political articles, the comments on just about everything I post always seem to devolve into trolling of some sort. I imagine this happens to others as well, but it doesn’t really make things any better.
In conclusion: Facebook, it’s both you and me; sorry this isn’t working out.
It’s been a little over two hours, and I’m not freaking out yet. Cool.