Long ago and far away I walked away from MySpace. There were a number of reasons leading me to this decision. I mean, it was bad enough with the themes some applied to their accounts that induced seizures in people who don’t even have epilepsy. Then there were all the pages that played music just as soon as you opened them. Nothing like a little late night browsing when suddenly, death metal erupts from your speakers. Then there was the fact that MySpace had an identity crisis in that it couldn’t seem to figure out if it was a chat facility, a blog, a pre-Twitter Twitter-like service, or whatever the hell it was. Tom was friends with everyone and few people knew who he was. At the end of its run, MySpace was kind of ridiculous.
But in the end, I walked away for a very simple reason. I wasn’t getting anything out of it and no longer felt it was something for me. I’ve done this with lots of things: books, TV shows, podcasts, musicians, and so on. I’m not condemning them or saying their work sucks, I’m walking away because I think it’s no longer something I want. There were lots of people on MySpace when I left, and they didn’t crumble for a long time.
According to my profile page, I have just over 200 friends on Facebook. This includes real-life friends, online friends, family, people I kinda know, and people I’ve known forever. I love them all, I seriously do. But you know what?
Facebook just isn’t anything I want anymore.
There are tonnes of reasons for this, just like there were with MySpace. First, there’s the huge creep factor in the way Facebook mines my data to sell me things I don’t need. The sad fact is that most, if not all, of these ads are absolutely useless to me. I just turned off Ad Block Plus, just as an experiment to see what Facebook thinks I’m into.
Keep in mind, I’m a nerd. I like space, and science, and computers, and books, and video games, and so on. Going down the ad list here I see:
- Tool specials at NAPA auto parts (I couldn’t fix a car if you held a gun on me.)
- Superior Cleaning (Because apparently I need a pressure washer.)
- G-Star sale. (I literally have no idea what the fuck this is.)
- American Express (NO.)
- Braun electric razor (I’ve not used electric in over a decade, but I can explain this one… it’s because I posted something about Dieter Rams a while ago. Who’d he work for, again?)
So yeah, nothing there and I mean literally, there’s nothing there for me.
The content is okay, but over the last two years, the signal to noise ratio has increased to a shrill crackle and squeal over the occasional message in chaos. Anymore, It’s not unusual to totally miss pictures of my grandniece or hear about someone’s new job because of weird news stories and, oddly enough, pictures of how hot it is… in Phoenix.
As I write this, I’m looking out the window of my studio-office. Yup, can confirm, it’s hot outside. A bit windy too.
This is not the fault of my friends or family. They are absolutely free to post the things they want to post and that’s what they should do. Perhaps there are ways to apply a squelch to that noise and re-gain the signal all too often lost within the cacophony of “I took a quiz and I’m this Star Wars character” and “Everything Bad is Because of Liberals.” (Or was it conservatives? Maybe my friends and family will wake up one day and realize that the government, as an entity, is broken. Blaming the left and/or the right for the breakage is like blaming your speedometer for your car’s inability to start.)
Privacy and everything else
A while back, some fuckheads, and fuckheads they were, commented on a post I’d made. I had no idea who said fuckheads were. Never heard of them, didn’t know them. Turns out, that post was public and open thanks to a new privacy setting that Facebook turned on and, apparently, I missed Facebook’s notice of this new addition. Or it could be that I missed this notice because it never existed. I eventually learned about the issue from a tech news website where I also learned how to disable it. Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, Facebook is going to keep screwing with your privacy and continue making it harder to manage said privacy on Facebook. Like Kobe beef you are well fed, well pampered, coddled, massaged, to eventually be served on a plate with a parsley garnish to advertisers. Ads drive the web, I know this and accept it.
There’s a difference between consent and rohypnol in your drink.
Still, in the end, none of those reasons really add up to the one big reason I’m walking away from Facebook. It’s the same thing and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone: It’s not something I want anymore.
Does this mean I’m killing my Facebook account? Nuking it all from orbit and walking away in slow motion as it explodes behind me? No. I didn’t do that for MySpace either. I simply stopped using it. It’s like that TV show that went south last season and dammit, you know it went south. So you just, you know, stopped watching it. I’ve got some services set to post to Facebook for people who might have the interest, all ten of them I believe. Maybe twelve, it’s hard to tell. I’ll pop in to see family pics and check out what’s going on in my neighbourhood because my neighbourhood has a Facebook page that’s part news feed, part gossip magazine. And I’ll keep Messenger on my phone for the people who use that to contact me. (My father doesn’t really know, or care, how to text me. He knows how to hit me up via Messenger though.)
In short, I become a Facebook deadbeat. Facebook is there to sell ads and deliver them to me, targeting my proclivities based upon the information I post. In other words, what I post should become fodder for ads that people pay Facebook to show me.
But I won’t see them.
It’s a one-way communication line for the most part because my blogs, my feeds, the occasional news story — that will all still get posted here. But I won’t see the results of it. Go ahead, like it. Comment on it. Facebook loves that. But the data and metrics generated from those posts and translated to ad delivery? I’ll get none of it.
It doesn’t really matter. I’ve never bought anything from a Facebook ad anyway. The advertising tended to be lost to apathy and Ad Block Plus.
Follow me… everywhere but
So, if you care and if you want to follow me online, well — I know this may be hard to believe for some people — but there is a Web and an Internet outside of Facebook. I’m still active on blogs and social networks. I’m just not going to be hanging around Facebook much anymore. If you want to see what I’m up to, you can actually just stay here. All the stuff I posted that went to Facebook will still come to Facebook. That includes Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and so on. However, if you’re daring, you’ll follow me and others elsewhere.
- Cyberpunk Librarian
- My podcast
- YouTube (New vlogs coming soon!)
Let’s go exploring.