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Thoughts My Life After Facebook (Part 2)

In my previous Facebook-oriented post, I discussed some of the build-up to my leaving Facebook - partly due to privacy concerns. In this post, I’ll talk about the repercussions of leaving Facebook.

Privacy Sidebar

I’m actually not a privacy nut (perhaps proved by this website). For example, I know Google monitors, stores, keeps, and sells a RIDICULOUS amount of my personal information… But here’s the thing, with Google, I don’t mind. Google provides me with an incredible amount of awesomeness in the form of a search engine, email, translation utilities, a calendar, image storage, hours of videos, an operating system, …

Not only do they do all this, but they do it FOR FREE! AND, even more, they do it all a damn sight better than 90% of their competition (both free and commercial competition).

So, here is a company that has enhanced my computing experience, made me much more productive (in the case of YouTube, less productive), handles all the infrastructure for my online communication, and isn’t charging me a red cent. All they ask is that they be allowed to show targeted ads, and sell off my browsing habits (ideally with anonymity). I’ll go so far as to say that’s not too much to ask.

Facebook, however, occupies a tiny part of my day, does not enhance my life appreciably, is a time-sink, and they want full rights and permissions to everything about me placed by me or others on their social network? No dice homeslice.

Now back to the repercussions

And so it came to pass that the day I was informed that I would be forcibly converted to Timeline 7 days later, I took to my Facebook status and announced to the world that I would be leaving Facebook in 6 days. I also informed the world that they should quickly message me with up-to-date contact information so that we could stay in touch.

As it turned out, there was no appreciable change in my communication routines with the people I talk to 90% of the time. Because, the dirty little secret that Facebook doesn’t want you to know is this: Your real friends go out of their way to stay in touch with you. Actually, to take that one step further, your real friends are probably already in touch with you OFF Facebook, so you might not even notice a difference.

Having said all that, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things I don’t miss about having a social network:

Things I miss about Facebook

  1. Not having constant reminders about friends’ birthdays.
  2. Ease of notifying friends when travelling in their countries (a quick status of: “I’m in Germany for 2 weeks” was pretty handy)
  3. Not enough friends use Picasa for sharing photos.

Things I don’t miss about Facebook

  1. Everything else!

Generally, I’ve noticed that my friends and family react differently to the news that I’m not on Facebook, or I’ve recently left Facebook, based on their age.

  • Age < 18: Absolutely flabbergasted that I don’t use Facebook. Can’t understand how I keep in contact with other humans. Regard me with skepticism.
  • 18 < Age < 25: Understand why I don’t use it, but state that they couldn’t survive without it. Especially if they are in University, where it’s handy to organize large-scale events because “everyone is on Facebook”.
  • 25 < Age: A resounding “meh” to the whole Facebook concept. Realize that it was super handy back in school, but is more of a liability in your career (who among us doesn’t have those scandalous photos that we wouldn’t want a future employer to see?). Prefer to use LinkedIn because it’s less personal and requires less upkeep.

So. There they are. The repercussions and reactions of quitting Facebook. For those of you thinking about leaving, my advice is as follows:

  • Before you leave, get up-to-date contact information from the people you want to keep in touch with.
  • Get all birthdays into another calendar (advice on how to do that here).
    • One thing to be careful of here though. If you use Facebook’s calendar URL, it EXPIRES a few weeks after you leave Facebook. It is NOT permanent (I screwed that one up).
  • Download all your info stored on Facebook (do this one a few days in advance, as it can take some time).
  • Don’t expect much to change in your life just because you’ve left a social network.

If anyone has any questions, comments, or experiences about quitting a social network, feel free to comment below!