Leaving Facebook: A compendium of reasons
UPDATED! Now, with more reasons!
However, I don’t know if “Facebook Democracy” is the means to shape that network. Rather, I think the best tactic is to leave the network and use the Web to advocate others to follow you. There are a handful of people who have chosen to leave Facebook for various reasons. Most cite privacy concerns. Some note that “friendship” in Facebook is very shallow and meaningless. Some note that the platform too heavily emphasizes the immediate and the shallow over the contextual and the long-term.
When they blog about their choice, they might feel a little isolated. But if you search for “leaving Facebook” or “I left Facebook,” you’ll see a growing list of people concerned with the social power of that site and unwilling to participate in it. I’ve collected many of these posts here – I hope they’re useful to anyone pondering leaving Facebook. Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Read on for a semi-annotated bibliography, complete with the juiciest quotes pulled for your convenience. By the way, Timo Vuorensola’s reason for leaving Facebook is the best…
Aspan, Maria. 2008. How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free. The New York Times, February 11, sec. Technology.
Brennan, Marie. 2010. reasons for leaving facebook, longer version. Swan Tower. May 10.
“The value I get from Facebook is marginal: yeah, I’ve connected to old friends from high school, etc, but we’ve done nothing more than connect; I haven’t struck up conversations with them. The signal-to-noise ratio of my news feed is so abysmal I don’t even bother reading it most of the time. I hate the layout of the service, and as for the applications, they’re time-wasters I really, really don’t need.”
Bub, Brian Z. 2011. We are more than status updates. Burning All Illusion. September 25.
“This is my call: Make it longer. Read more books, essays, poems; write more; watch challenging movies and plays; have lengthy discussions with wise friends; learn an instrument or how to take a quality photograph; go for long walks (or runs or bike rides etc.) and spend time with your own mind without distractions. Spend time with difficult ideas, let them develop in your mind, take the time to articulate them in your own words. Fingerpaint. Whatever! Embrace the long-form in every way possible. We are more than status updates.”
Butcher, Mike. 2010. Privacy issues? Google engineers leaving Facebook in droves. Blog. TechCrunch. April 23.
“…lots of geeks are considering leaving Facebook, and perhaps even more interestingly, veritable droves of Google software engineers are among them.”
Cago, Felicia. 2010. Why I left Facebook. Blog. Felicia Cago: Mental Meanderings. February 11.
“The noise of Facebook got to me one day, although it had been building gradually. The apps, those god-damned apps, and quizzes about nothing just got too tedious.”
Constanttinescu, Stefan. 2009. Push versus Pull relationships and why I left Facebook. Blog. IntoMobile. August 31.
“Doesn’t it feel good to get a text or a call from a friend that simply says “hey, what’s new?” or an offer for a lunch date to catch up? That person is going out of their way to see what you’re doing, because they’re genuinely interested. You can say “nothing is new”, or reject the lunch date, but at least you know that someone out there was curious as to what is going on in your life. There is nothing like that in Facebook.”
Flynn, Richard. 2007. Social Networking Sucks! (Or, why I left Facebook). Blog. Richard Flynn. February 22.
“On my own site, I have absolute control over everything that is published. On Facebook, however, all of this information about a huge number of people is collected together on one site, ripe for the harvest. Someone else could post something about you in their own profile—however potentially harmful—and you’d be powerless to do anything about it.”
George, Jason T. 2009. Why I left facebook. Blog. G R I Z Z I N. August 28.
Heffernan, Virginia. 2009. Facebook Exodus. The New York Times, August 30, sec. Magazine.
Hower, Tyler. 2009. Reasons for leaving Facebook, part the first. De Nihilo Nihil. September 27.
“Social networking sites (help to) turn friendship into a passive enterprise. Whereas a real friendship involves taking an active interest in another person, spending time with that person, putting effort into a relationship and more—that is, a friendship is an active endeavor—a social networking “friendship” involves occasionally reading the postings of another, reading another’s status updates and acting as if this is a connection…. Friendship is work, as are almost all things worthwhile.“
Jean. 2008. Why I’m deleting my Facebook account « creativity/machine. Blog. Creativity/Machine. February 5.
“Oh, and also, in order to delete absolutely everything, I’d also have to re-add every single one of the applications I’ve ever had installed, and then go through and remove the content, and then delete the applications again. Because when you delete an application, guess what? Your data is still stored there somewhere.”
Jefferson, Cord. 2011. The New Dinosaur: Why I’m Not on Facebook, and Why You Shouldn’t Be Either. Good. May 6.
“…Pull back the curtain and it’s a place for getting people ages 13 and over to willingly offer up the most direct ways to sell them things. It’s like being at a big party with all your friends but then realizing that the party is really a Pizza Hut focus group. And also, any pictures you take at the party are owned by the focus group forever. Sound fun to you?”
Schoemann, Molly. 2009. Why I Left Facebook. Blog. I Heard Tell. January 1.
“Click here to scan through your Facebook friends and realize that very few of them represent actual, current friendships or even associations that you remotely value. In fact your list of contacts feels like an eerie social graveyard of expired friendships, badly ended relationships, and vague, past acquaintances you care very little about. Begin to feel depressed by the fact that so many people have passed in and out of your life without leaving much of an impression on you. Wonder how a website that is so meaningless, vacuous and shallow has become so overwhelmingly popular (particularly with younger generations), and what that means about how we view social interaction today and the direction in which it is going.”
Thompson, R. D. 2009. Why I Left Facebook Forever. Blog. The Little Puritan. December 18.
“I believe it is a failure because it promotes the current cultural shortcoming of being glib. Anything you say, absolutely anything, must be kept short and stupid. I have had myriads of “friends” tell me that I was failing to be simple enough in statuses and notes. That I needed to keep it short and sweet. This is not a good thing and will only continue to further a glib and careless society that has time only for sound bites and flashes of light. A society that has the attention span of a hummingbird.”
Thudfactor. 2011. Why I left Facebook. Thudfactor. September 26.
“Many of their decisions, from showing your friends’ faces on third-party advertising to publicly announcing your “likes,” has been geared towards using your endorsement of products and services without you having you go to the trouble of actually telling your friends about it. “Like” a company? They’d like to use that as an advertisement, please. Bought something on Amazon? Maybe your friends would be interested in that thing, too. Drinking at a certain bar? If we let the FB timeline know, maybe for folks will join you! …That’s what they really want of you. The price of using Facebook is not just that some of your information gets shared with marketers and that you have to look at advertising. The real price is a blanket endorsement deal. I’d prefer to decide for myself what I endorse and what I don’t, but it’s clear to me now that Facebook really doesn’t want to leave me that decision. And so I’m gone.”
troutgirl. 2009. Leaving Facebook. Blog. Fishy thoughts. February 16.
“The other day I was on Caltrain when the entire car filled up with drunk (or even worse, pseudo-drunk) Stanford undergrads going to some kind of stupid costume party. The thing that astonished me was how INCREDIBLY LOUD they were, and how INCREDIBLY LITTLE they had to say — nothing came out of their mouths but pre-chewed catchphrases. They also mentioned Facebook in like every other sentence. Then I realized that they WERE Facebook. When I got home, I started working on disengaging from my “Facebook friends”.”
Vuorensola, Timo. 2010. Why I left FaceBook. Blog. Beyond the Iron Sky. April 28.
“The thing is, I just don’t like their style. FaceBook is like the hunkiest douchebag in the bar. You know the type, the guy with enormous muscles and fake tan and bleached teeth. He gets to act just as badly as he wants, but there’s still always people swarming around him. Sometimes big online services just go into that path and never come back, and I don’t need that kind of shit around me.”