Hello, Internet 1.0! I missed you. It’s been a while, but I think it’s time to come full circle again. It’s 2021, and I’m ready to do what I’ve been thinking about for a while, disappear from social media (in as much as that is possible). But why, you may ask? Besides being the hip thing to do these days, there are several reasons why I’m taking this step of hosting my own blog again instead of using Facebook. As a fan of lists, here’s my top 5 reasons for dumping Facebook:
1. Lack of Control and Privacy
Tech companies these days love harvesting all of your personal data to use for ads, and sell that data to other companies. This allows them to do awful things such as selling your personal data to Cambridge Analytica and doing things that make them money, but are harmful to the general good. Also uploading photos provides them with free data sets to feed machine learning algorithms so that, again, they can do creepy privacy-violating things with them. I’m tired of making things so easy for them, and I want to take back control of my online digital footprint.
2. Outrage = Engagement
Facebook’s metric for how well it is doing is driven by how much time you are spending on the site. But as it turns out, what gets people to spend the maximum amount of time on Facebook is getting really pissed at other people using Facebook. The way Facebook subtly encourages this kind of engagement is by filtering what you get to see in your feed so that those type of posts percolate to the top. In the interests of lowering the amount of stress in my life on a day to day basis, especially during a pandemic, I think the best move is not to play.
3. Keeping Up With The Joneses
On Facebook, people generally want to present themselves in the best light possible. This makes sense, because everyone and their grandma is probably going to see what you post. However, this results in a lot of extremely shallow participation where you only see the most surface, shown-in-the-best light versions of people. Which also has the side effect of making people who may not be as fortunate, or who are currently going through depression (re: pandemic) feel even worse about themselves since it’s human nature to compare ourselves to everyone else. It’s like the digital equivalent of a high school reunion, except it’s like it happens every single day. And I hated high school, so count me out.
4. The Format Isn’t Conducive for Depth
These are also related to the previous point, but the format of posts on Facebook isn’t very conducive to in-depth analysis. Whenever I try to read a long form post on Facebook, or have to click through 50 images arranged in a sequence, I feel like I’m trying to read a novel written in snippets across a hundred billboards. So whenever I want to write something more in depth, it feels more appropriate to do it on a personal blog. Since the blog format encourages it, I hope to get back into writing in long form more frequently and revive the lost art of letter writing.
5. Control Enables Creativity
On this blog, I can do literally anything. If I want to insert a picture of a muscular Bugs Bunny inline right after this sentence, I can and WILL do it:
See? It just happened. On Facebook, I’m boxed into the constraints of Facebook’s Terms of Service, as well as the formatting that they’ve imposed on everyone’s user experience. Here, I get to decide how everything is presented down to the tiniest pixel. And that kind of freedom is very creatively empowering for me! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize why art was so important to me, and that is because it was the one thing I could do where I had total control and no one else could tell me I was doing it wrong. I want to get back in touch with that inner angsty youth who just wanted to draw all day.
So there you have it, my main reasons for leaving Facebook. That said, I won’t be closing out my Facebook account just yet, since there are some groups that I get event updates from on there occasionally. I primarily hope to stop uploading any pictures or video to Facebook, not contribute substantively to any content on there personally, and most importantly to stop checking it nearly as frequently. If you have any interest in following my personal goings on, feel free to check back here occasionally for updates. I recommend using an RSS reader to check the feed so that you don’t have to keep pressing the refresh button on the home page. I’m planning to use this blog to share updates with friends and family on our adventures out here in California, whether that be going on hikes or surviving the current global pandemic and societal collapse! Occasionally I may write about other things that interest me, post art, or share other projects I’m working on. See you then!