Friday, March 23, 2018

Goodbye Facebook

I’ve never trusted Facebook. In the eleven years I’ve been a member, I have too often seen them disregard users’ privacy and violate trust. Persistent concerns prevented me ever from turning on the application platform or installing the mobile app. Granted, I’ve been an active user of the service and enjoyed it in many ways. But today I’m not so sure that the benefits outweigh the costs for me. The Cambridge Analytica scandal pushed me over a tipping point.

Studies show that Facebook generally decreases users’ happiness, and I’ve tried not to hang my sense of welfare on comparisons to other people’s lives. On the other hand, I may be a part of the problem, presenting an overly pretty picture of myself online. Like most other people, I filter. I post the good stuff, but don’t talk much about my failures. Anyway, I’m confident that my happiness derives from sources other than Facebook and don’t imagine it will hurt me emotionally to part ways with the company.

What I like about Facebook is the sense of connectedness it offers. I’ve learned lots about race relations, culture wars, my friends’ political beliefs, beautiful vacation spots and numerous other things on this platform. I’ve offended, been offended, soothed hurt feelings and attempted to buck up the depressed. It’s been a big part of my life. But is it life?

On April Fool’s Day, I’ll begin an experiment. I’m going to deactivate my Facebook account and try to live a little more like I did in the old days. I’ll initiate more conversations on email and telephone and hope that others will do the same. I won’t be in touch with quite so many people but hope that the loss will be compensated by deeper relationships among those who are left. Please feel free to reach out to me at your convenience: I’m easy to find through my website. You can leave comments on blog posts or find my email address and phone numbers on the “About me” page.

I’ll try to share a little more on my blog, so the seriously curious can know what’s up. I don’t have a lot of followers, however, so if you’re reading this then you’re already special to me. Please feel free to get in touch. I read Russian and English, and I will respond in whatever language you write. (But answers in English tend to be much more nuanced.) Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying to keep up, but I’ll get my information from truly-personal or reliably-professional sources.

I hope to see you in the real world!

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