In the beginning…
I signed up for an Facebook account in May 2010 after finally giving in to peer pressure. Back then, I also thought why not make myself more “sociable” by joining a social media. I for one has never like being part of any social media. Thus I missed out on the MySpace and Friendster era. What I had was a blog on Blogger and was a member on some forums.
Over the seven or so years of having a Facebook account, I posted countless status updates, uploaded hundreds of photos and have linked my WordPress, YouTube and Twitter to Facebook. I saw Facebook as a platform for me to show more of myself to my friends.
Houston, we got a problem
The last two years, I started feeling I’m oversharing and was concerned with flooding my friends’ news feeds. So the status update slowed down and sometimes there were no post for more than three days. Then there was a period of time when I stop posting for nearly three months before getting back to it.
As of late, I finally realized how much Facebook and my addiction to it has ruined my ability to write long form content to share my thoughts. I stopped being able to articulate my thoughts in writing if I need to go on for more than two paragraphs. I also stop being able to focus deeply into my work.
Privacy started being another main concern as I got older. It all started when I found myself victim of data breaches across some of the sites I used. So fake information about myself started to replace my real personal information on social media sites. Alias email addresses started replacing my personal email address instead on many sites. The incident with Cambridge Analytica was the final straw that pushed me over the edge.
I finally could say I’m done with Facebook.
Acts of deletion and my privacy
As of 25 March 2018 1830 hours, I did it. I triggered the deletion request and my Facebook account has been deactivated as part of it being deleted. Now it’s all about waiting out the 14 days for the actual deletion to start.
The weeks leading to that deletion saw me spending countless hours ruining my own Facebook account by manually removing pictures, comments, likes and posts. Due to the sheer volume, I couldn’t finish them all without automated process. However, I didn’t go with automated option because I wanted to review individually what I have posted in the past.
You’d probably ask why I didn’t download an archive instead to review during my free time. The reason is very simple.
Since I have gotten more concerned with my own privacy, I didn’t want my Facebook archive to end up somewhere. There is just so many possible scenario where the Facebook archive you stored on your hard drive could end up in somebody’s else hands if you are not careful. Facebook having backup copies and logs of your account is bad enough and there is no guarantee that this deletion is a 100% thing. So it’s all about reducing your chance of being exposed.
Now, having hit that delete button never felt so good. It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I could go about my life more freely. I’m proud of myself for finally taking back control.
Even before hitting that delete button, I did feel freer. It all started ever since I started ruining my Facebook account. Without Facebook, I found myself thinking more and deeper. I have also spent longer than usual amount of time reading articles and digesting them rather than skimming through and move on to the next.
Without Facebook also made me happier because I no longer get to see my friends’ curated “good” life. As the saying goes, ignorance is blissful. It also meant that I could use actual meet ups or text messages to find out more about my friends and how they are doing. This I hope allows for better and stronger friendship. It also forces me to focus more on listening to my friends when we are chatting and not look at my phone. Conversations become deeper and more meaningful.
However, it doesn’t mean that your friends will do the same. Some of my friends don’t. The moment there is a lull in any conversation, they pull out their phone and start scrolling. I suspect it got to do with the lack of trust between friends and that prevented them from wanting to share their deepest and darkest thought.
So it’s time to encourage friends to stop using their phones, focus more on the now and building up the relationship instead of escaping into the digital world.