On 30 June 2014, I effectively stopped using my Facebook profile, with no personal posts during the subsequent two-and-a-half years. At the time, I wrote a rant about my reasons for doing so – “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to Facebook anymore” – a wordplay on Peter Finch’s famous scene from the movie Network. So, have I been missing much? And is it time to come back?
Not really for the first question, and kind of for the second. Since I locked down my personal profile and friend settings, I’ve had about 70 friend requests and 40 to 50 items that I’ve been tagged in for timeline review. I’ve still needed to login to Facebook occasionally for administering various pages, while also writing posts under the guise of those page profiles.
I’ve made just two comments with my personal profile during the past 30 months, one to gain access to an educational course and the other to thank the providers for doing so. However, in the future, I do want to interact more with communities (pages, groups, etc.) related to my interests, both professional and personal.
I realise that my main gripe with Facebook has been the overlapping universes of work and family contacts. I remember Blaine Cook talking about this in 2009, when he likened the platform to being stuck in a big room with your parents, your boss, your sports team, your current and past partners, your colleagues, your family, and more.
So as a fix for this, I’ve started disconnecting from my 50 or so (extended) family contacts (sorry all!) while keeping my other 570 contacts, to make a clearer separation between work and family online. This still allows me to make use of Facebook for marketing, information seeking, promotion and other interactions, but avoids the uncomfortableness I’ve always felt with the platform, which I mainly used for cross-posting work-related stuff from Twitter anyway. At least my family all have my phone number if they still want to/need to get me!