Finally Facebook Free

I guess I can keep this post simple: I deleted my Facebook account today. Finally.

Of course, I tweeted about this on the one social media (Twitter) platform I still have. Not sure how ironic that is, but anyways.

I blogged about my Facebook relationship being complicated, but I had no problem divorcing myself from it today.

In fact, after deleting the Facebook and Messenger apps from my phone and tablet back in December 2018, my activity on the site plummeted. I grew distant from it. So I had practically and emotionally started deleting Facebook; today was the final and official “nuke from orbit.” I deleted rather than deactivated.

On top of that, I already deleted my Instagram account in March.

So why did I delete it now? I had been leaning towards it for a good while, holding off any rash or emotional decision. But the most recent load of bad news about new and further privacy scandals and bad company practices in general pushed me over the edge.

I’ve simply had more than enough of anything associated with Mark Zuckerberg. No WhatsApp, no Facebook, no Instagram. I do not trust Zuckerberg and do not like his business practices.

Social media in general may not be worth what it costs on us as individuals or as a society. I don’t want to delve into the scary world of Surveillance Capitalism and The Attention Economy, so suffice to say that deleting Facebook is something I wish everyone would do.

At the very least, I hope my example will prevent my kids from ever wanting Facebook. My oldest son will turn 13 very soon, the age allowed to have a Facebook account; I will deter him from it.

I am not anti-social. I like sharing with friends and family, connecting and socializing on some level. We all do; humans are made to be relational (even us introverts).

Without Facebook, it is still easy enough to share pictures with my family and communicate with them! There are plenty of good apps, services, and other ways to stay in touch, each with pros and cons or trade-offs.

But Facebook is not worth it. Oversharing, a junky Newsfeed, addiction and distraction, uncomfortable friend requests, social anxiety, etc. These are personal reasons to quit Facebook in addition to the “global” reasons you’ve read about in the news since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, March 2018.

Here are some links to my past thoughts and actions regarding Facebook to give some more context to my final account deletion today.

All my posts about Social Media in general are here, just look for “Facebook” or other key words in the titles:

Social Media

Most relevant is my post from last year when I deleted my Facebook account before! The reasons there are still the same today but worse!

Why I Quit Facebook

A quick explanation why I rejoined Facebook last August after 4 months of being #Facebookfree: it was a moment of weakness, falling for the one good feature Facebook has that makes it so attractive and sticky. It has “all” my friends and family on it.

Literally, one big spark the reignited my Facebook relationship then was ( I kid you not) seeing, in a passing glance, the red notification icon on someone else’s Facebook app on their phone! That little red badge, designed to be addictive! Again, I’m being real here.

I have 30 days until my Facebook account is permanently deleted! I’ve already removed all links and purged my browser’s history from cookies and related stuff. I’m eager to have my hands cleansed from it.

I’m glad to finally be Facebook free, and I’m pretty sure I will not rejoin ever again.

Are you Facebook free? Think you might delete your account? Do it! Let me know in the comments below or email me. Love to hear from ya; thanks for reading!

Demise Of Facebook Newsfeed

You and I won’t need to tolerate Facebook’s privacy woes much longer. Recent news about The Social Network trying to change its stripes expresses what’s been a long time in coming: the end of the Newsfeed era.

Keep in mind, headlines are meant to be catchy or sensational. Something like, “The Death of Facebook” is sure to grab attention, which is what every media site online wants to do. Like this blog post!

That said, since billions of people like to look at their Facebook Newsfeed, it’s a huge deal if it is about to go away or fundamentally change because the impact would be vast. Even minor changes in the past ruffled internet feathers.

Check out these March 2019 headline declarations:

Facebook’s News Feed era is now officially over

This could be the beginning of the end for Facebook’s social network

But big news like this isn’t new for Facebook. See this dramatic headline from nearly five years ago, April 2014:

This is the end of Facebook as we know it

I guess time will tell what really happens. But I’m gonna go ahead and call it:

“Facebook Newsfeed is maybe might be dying or dead!”

Sarcasm aside, there is ample reason to think something big is changing for Facebook and the Newsfeed. The founder, Mark Zuckerberg, recently announced a sweeping pivot for Facebook. This was followed quickly by two top-tier execs, one in charge of the Newsfeed for many years, suddenly announcing they’re leaving their jobs.

These big shake-ups follow several months of cascading scandals and controversies over Facebook’s business model and data collection practices. These changes appear to be a culmination of the previous problems, touched off by Russian meddling and Cambridge Analytica.

But I’m not here to rehash the issues. I simply wonder, is this really the end?

The way things have stacked up, I’m more convinced that Facebook’s dominance may finally be winding down. But I’m also concerned that it could be ramping up in other ways. I would not be surprised if Mark Zuckerberg wants to grow to become like WeChat in China, which I think would be worse than the Facebook Newsfeed!

Despite its claims to embrace privacy, I think Facebook, if it became like WeChat, would be more ubiquitous (invasive) and reach the utility status it wants. Like electricity or the internet itself, Facebook wants to be needed, as essential to daily living as buying food.

For a capitalistic business to so fundamentally govern billions of people, it would be like a government of the money, by the money, and for the money.

For Facebook, connecting billions of people is a means to collecting billions of dollars.

This is scary. I don’t want one man, or a handful of people driven by shareholders and more money, to have such power over billions of people – more than any single country’s population. It’s dangerous.

I don’t think Facebook has shown that it can properly manage such an influential platform. Sure, it’s got the technical chops to run a network from here to the moon and back. But it lacks the essential ingredients of an entity with large scale influence, like earning trust or understanding its role in civil discourse.

Great power plus not-great responsibility equals great corruption. Right?

Here’s the thing. Maybe Facebook grows bigger and more utilitarian in our society, yet it does not need to. We don’t need Facebook! You and I have been connecting and communicating with others well enough since forever without Facebook; we still can!

There are plenty of other tools and platforms and methods to talk with friends and family. There are abundant other resources for entertainment. And if you want the news, it’s available everywhere, not just on Facebook.

Plus, think of the new websites and services that could spring up if Facebook finally receded into the background. What if the big guy let the little guys have a chance?

I hope Facebook doesn’t grow any more. It’s too big already. I say Let Facebook Age Out.

Do you think Facebook is too big? What, if any, change would you want for Facebook? Leave a comment below or send me a message here. Good to hear from ya!

Let Facebook Age Out

Facebook is ubiquitous. If you need to find someone, chances are they’re on Facebook. And most people are so hooked on it that they’d never delete their account. Would you? If not, can we keep the next generation off it? I think that’s a key part of ending Facebook’s ubiquity.

This Gen On

Current generations (Boomers, Gen X, Millennials) use social media a lot – for better or for worse. And it’s hard to stop the train or jump off while it’s moving! Maybe you have tried to reduce your Facebook usage or know someone who has.

I kind of hate to admit that I still have a Facebook account (I’ve been considering deletion or deactivation). I opt for what Cal Newport terms Controlled Use. The Facebook app has been off my phone since last December; I rarely check the site on my PC. I unfollowed almost everyone, so my Newsfeed is mostly blank. This keeps me from getting sucked in. You probably know what I’m talking about.

Next Gen Off

But what about the next generation (Gen Y, Gen Z, Post-Millennials)? Current Facebook rules require you to be age 13 to get an account. But does a kid really need an account? Aren’t they still learning how to socialize face to face? Why complicate their growth with an addictive social media profile and a distracting Newsfeed where even adults fail to exercise self-control over their time spent mindlessly scrolling?

I’ve often wondered what it would take for Facebook’s dominance to dwindle. In order for Facebook to die out, it must age out. And you and I can keep the next generation from gravitating towards its black hole. It is our responsibility to do just that.

Caution Children Playing

One of the founders of Facebook, Sean Parker, admitted that the company intentionally or knowingly exploited human psychological vulnerabilities to cause people to use the site more and more. And he expressed deep concern over kids using social media,

“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” – Sean Parker

Our kids should be warned of Facebook’s problems (addiction, anti-privacy, lack of security, surveillance, misinformation, fake-news, etc) and be discouraged from getting onboard.

My oldest son turns 13 this year. I don’t want him to ever get on Facebook. So in my house, that’s the deal. No Facebook for you, kids! Like many restrictions, this one applies until they’re 18 years old or they move out.

This, of course, brings up a point. What about my own use of Facebook, and my wife’s account, for example? If I tell my kids they shouldn’t be on Facebook yet they see me on it, doesn’t that send a mixed message? Isn’t that hypocritical? Good point!

Yes and no. I see the mixed message. I get it. But it’s like a lot of things in life: some stuff is for mature adults only: cigarettes, alcohol, R-rated movies, etc. As parents, we shield or restrict our kids from these types of things. Facebook (social media and YouTube), falls in this category.

Facebook is also like sugar: sweet at fleeting moments yet detrimental if not used in moderation. It is not good for your health. Children lack the discretion and self-control to consume it responsibly. And as a parent of 5 young boys, I know the fall-out from letting kids have even a little sugar beyond the occasional snack.

Pressed Against A Facebook Wall

My opinion on these matters isn’t alone of course. Social media (Facebook) is very problematic for teenagers. Take this statement for example:

“Social-networking sites like Facebook promise to connect us to friends. But the portrait of iGen teens emerging from the data is one of a lonely, dislocated generation.” – Jean M. Twenge

The Atlantic article with the above statement talks about the deleterious effects of smartphones and social media on the next generation. They’re the ones, like my kids, we must protect.

There are also books written and studies done about this. One related article is found here: You Are The Product. Here’s one more: The End of Facebook’s Ubiquity. And a related book hot off the press: Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook catastrophe. The Zucked website front page has some simple guidelines for protecting kids from Facebook.

Let’s do our kids a favor and keep them off Facebook. Let Facebook age out.

What do you think, is Facebook something we should protect our kids from? Can social media be used for good? Is the negative press of Facebook overblown? Comment below or email me. Love to hear from ya!

Being An Introvert On Twitter

This year has seen a lot of bad news concerning Facebook and online privacy. The drum beat of anti-social media has grown louder. You’d think scrolling a newsfeed is like smoking cigarettes. Perish the thoughtcrime!

On some level I think that’s an apt description. Like maybe Brave New World is coming true. Or 1984. Or both. Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death? To some degree. But I don’t want to over-amplify suspicions of dystopia.

Social media does have some benefits, right? It’s not all bad. Convenience and connection come to mind. I know that’s debatable. And I think whether the good outweighs the bad is ultimately an individual decision. Yet when the anti-social drum beats loudly, it sounds like many agree the bad overshadows the good, if there is any at all. Personally, I go back and forth.

When I deleted Facebook and Instagram earlier this year, I kept Twitter.

Being the biggest and most influential of all, Facebook gets most of the heat. It’s well deserved based on the ill news reports of privacy disregard and misinformation campaigns. But Twitter also gets a fair share of backlash.

Photo by Pixabay on

The tweeting bird icon is cute, but Twitter’s been described less favorably: cesspool of toxic human waste, vitriolic garbage fire, hellscape. Sounds harsh! And I think I can see why; I’ve heard pretty bad things about the negativity there: trolls, unfiltered comments, blocking people, and the like.

Maybe I’m a bit naive, but fortunately so far, my experience as a ‘nobody’ on Twitter has been far better than that. Maybe it’s because my follower/following counts are so low: just double digits. But that’s fine with me. I wouldn’t say I’m a heavy user of Twitter. But I like it. Why?

In general, Twitter’s design and function on the web and iOS app is simple, clean, and elegant when compared to Facebook. The user interaction is minimal. Only 140 (now 280) characters of text! A few buttons here and there, a few features. That’s it. On the surface, it seems easy to grasp.

The whole Twitter etiquette thing may be less easy to grasp as I’m sure I’ve broken it before; I try to not spam or overuse #hashtags or @replies. But I think this is due to my slow grokking rather than poor design of the service.

Even though I’ve had little engagement on Twitter with other users, it’s actually been nice. Quality over quantity. People have been polite, sincere and helpful or encouraging. So my guess is it depends largely on who you follow and how many people or brands you keep up with.

A specific insight I think I’ve had on why I like Twitter is this: it may be a place where introverts can feel like extroverts at the party. That might sound dopey, so I’ll try to explain.

Introverts like myself generally don’t do well at parties or other social gatherings of humans. I’ll speak for myself; I’m not good at saying witty, funny, or intelligent things on the fly. In fact, it’s hard to say those kinds of things even in writing where I have time to think before I speak!

On Twitter, I think introverts can sort of feel like they’re “part of the conversation.” They can throw in their two-cents worth of deep thoughts in a succinct-pithy-partial-paragraph. Or even just silly banter. We can be ourselves without worry because the awkwardness of close physical proximity is absent!

Granted, the lack of physical proximity, and worse, the ability to remain anonymous if one so chooses, both allow or enable all kinds of the bad behavior Twitter is infamous for.

Introverts can follow/be followed relatively easily, “hang-out” with peers or keep company with prominent figures and have a semblance of connection. (Of course I’m presupposing authenticity and all that.)

Where else can I easily express my fondness of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with others? Well, I could blog about it here I guess, but I doubt Dunkin’ would notice. On Twitter, they’re likely to engage with me with a retweet supporting their brand. But I digress.

If it turns out that a majority of people agree social media is more trouble than its worth or is detrimental to our mental health enough to require a surgeon general’s warning, then I’ll probably quit not just Facebook but also Twitter. Like switching from Camel Wides to Marlboro Lights won’t cut it. You gotta quit smoking altogether.

As one can breath air without inhaling ciagarette smoke, one can communicate without social media.

Anyways, I couldn’t fit all that in a tweet. So I blogged it! And I’ll share the link on Twitter.

What are your thoughts? Thanks for reading.


I’m A Friend With Facebook Again

I’m not sure how to say this. This is a post that I’ve felt I needed to share but I’ve been reluctant to. You see, back in March, I deleted my Facebook account. I called it the “nuke from orbit” option. And I think I had some pretty heavy reasons for doing so. But then on August 1st this year, I created a new Facebook account and re-friended many.

So what changed? Why did I decide to befriend my frenemy, Facebook?

Well, it’s pretty simple I think. Basically, all my friends and family are there.

So while Facebook still has a lot of pros and cons, and the cons are nothing to take lightly, its number one feature is connecting with people I care about. For better or for worse and despite there being other ways to stay in touch with people, Facebook is the easiest way of all.

facebook internet login screen
Photo by Pixabay on

I could kinda go through a list of ethical, philosophical, or sociological reasons why life would probably be better-off without Facebook. You know, heady stuff. But I’m not going to.

After 4 months of zero Facebooking, I simply wanted to stay in touch with people, easily share photos, and have access to Marketplace. And, guess what? I like getting likes. I admit it. I enjoy comments too. I can live without all that just fine, but I think I can live with it okay too.

I’ve had my ups and downs with Facebook, the addiction to it. So this aint my first rodeo. I know how to manage my Facebook habits well enough that I can use it for the good stuff it provides while avoiding the bad stuff. And that’s what I decided to do. So I rejoined. And I can quit anytime, I swear! 😉