Remember what life was like before Facebook? You had to call people to make plans. You had to get photos printed at Walgreens and buy little photo albums and put each photo in a sleeve and give your friends copies of the ones they were in. If you were hosting a party or event, you made up little invitations in Microsoft Word and printed them out and gave them to people, or mailed (!) them. You may have had fewer “friends” but the ones you had, you were closer to. You only got news from them if you actually asked for it and listened one-on-one on the phone or in person. It was harder to find out if you weren’t invited to something or left out of the loop.

My current Facebook profile.

Facebook has gotten a lot of negative press recently. From “fake news” scandals, fascinating revelations about their data collection, the Russian influence on the US election, and most recently Sean Parker (Facebook’s founding president) claiming the site’s mission from the start has been wasting as much of its users time as possible by exploiting human psychology (read the whole article here). I think everyone should think twice about how much information Facebook has about you if you frequently use the site (and/or Facebook Messenger), and the power organizations, companies and governments have when able to utilize this data to manipulate the masses.

Decentralization is something I’ve become quite fascinated by recently, and Facebook is basically the opposite of a decentralized community/service. I won’t dive into decentralization here and go off-topic, but look into it if you haven’t heard that term yet. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are under the decentralization umbrella, as are any service/technology that removes “third parties” and “trusted authorities” from your life. The idea is this: the less information and trust you give a third party (it can be a bank, the government, Facebook, etc) the better for you and for society in general.

old facebook profile
My facebook profile in 2008.

For 11 years I have been extremely active on Facebook for 2 reasons: networking for business (I’m freelance, so this was essential for the most eyes possible seeing my work and knowing what I do); and keeping up with family/close friends (since I travel a lot, this was very convenient), and easily sharing media/experiences/opinions with them en masse.

It’s been my personal experience that over the years these interactions have become more and more superficial. Even when I share something extremely important in my life, I’ve found that less than 10% of my “friends” interact with the post, and usually only 1 or 2 text or call in response, with the majority either hitting the ‘like’ button, or leaving a one sentence comment.

My life is rather A-typical: I’m usually single, I have very few close friends, and I work alone at home from a computer all day. For almost a decade now. So Facebook has been a substitute for a healthy social life for me for a very long time. Additionally, Facebook is a source of constant distraction and depression. Even when I’m otherwise being fairly productive, I still have this knee-jerk reaction to check it every hour or less. I’ve tried the news feed eradicator plugin, Blocksite plugin, deleting the app from my phone… nothing worked. I know as long as I’m an active user of the site, I will have an addiction to it. I don’t have this problem with any other social network. I absolutely love Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr – yet they don’t have this addictive property (for me, at least). I’m also on AngelList, LinkedIn, and I’m going to be much more active on my blogs as well, which I’ve linked below. Blog – (This blog) Where I post personal stuff, new client work and my yearly goals.
World Travlr – Where I post travel stories and photos
Edit911 Blog – Where I post book reviews and writing related news

Nothing makes me happier and feel more loved than getting a phone call or text from a friend just wanting to catch up and share stories, photos, and experiences. If you haven’t done that for a friend in a while – do it! I’m going to be personally following up with all my friends more often and I hope you do too.

If you still rather stalk me online, please follow my public Facebook, my Twitter and my Instagram 🙂

Almost all of my Facebook profile photos in the 11 years I’ve been on the site.

Ps. I really am going to miss Facebook. It’s been a (regretfully) huge part of my life over the past 11 years. It wasn’t all bad. Its facilitated the easy sharing of hundreds of priceless photos and memories with friends and family, funny conversations, interesting debates, and reconnection with friends (like that time Facebook told me my friend Leo was a few blocks away from me in Athens, Greece and we had dinner together). I’m excited for my new Facebook-free life though. I made the above collage of almost all of my Facebook profile photos, plus took a screenshot of my final profile as a little commemoration since I’ll be deleting my account permanently soon, and it will be a shame to see the 11 year time capsule of my life gone. Maybe I’ll put together an old fashioned scrapbook of Facebook memories?