Garrett L. Ward

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Leaving Facebook

I deleted my Facebook account today. Not just deactivated, mind–that’s too undo-able. I actually deleted everything. Spent about 2 hours last night deleting all my old posts by hand, mostly to see if there was anything worth saving before I took the plunge. Aside from a few articles I had shared before I started using Pinboard, there was nothing of value. After purging content and connections, and making sure I revoked all application tokens, I requested a permanent deletion, an option which is not easy to find.

This is something I’ve debated doing for awhile, but never pulled the trigger on. I justified keeping my account for several reasons, including the relative usefulness of Facebook Messenger as an SMS replacement, the occasional event invite, and (by far the silliest reason) the fact that I had the Facebook username “glward” and I didn’t want to lose it. Over the last few months I had taken steps to try to increase the signal-to-noise ratio on my newsfeed. I unfollowed a large number of my “friends” so my news feed was basically just my closest friends… who (with two or three exceptions) never really posted at all. At the end of the day, there was hardly any signal to be found, just noise.

Truth be told, Facebook wasn’t worth it for me anymore. I’m not sure that it ever was. It certainly never helped me keep in touch with anyone–the people I still talk to I talk to via SMS/iMessage, IRC, or occasionally Google Talk/Hangouts. Facebook doesn’t do anything meaningful for me. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t want vapid, byte-sized chunks of human interaction. I want something meaningful. If I want to know how my friends are doing I’d rather just sit down to dinner with them, or hell, even just text or call them. So, goodbye Facebook.

I may lose touch with people because of this, but honestly, if my not having a Facebook account is reason enough for me to lose touch with someone, it was probably inevitable anyway. To be truthful, I’d rather have a dozen or so really close friends than 200 or more acquaintances. And you can’t foster that kind of relationship with someone by reading all their statuses and liking all their pictures.