this morning, i did it. i deleted the personal Facebook account i’ve had since 2004, back when you could only get in with a .edu email address. i said goodbye to all those college and highschool friends and acquaintances (and didn’t bother to try to pull the info out either). i left, without preparation or planning. i hit that button, and i hit it good.
let me say right now that i DO have a public persona; or maybe several. i’m on Twitter and LinkedIn, and umm, obviously, this blog. i have a Flickr page too. so it’s not that i mind sharing, or sharing publicly.
i deleted my Facebook account for the same reasons i turned off Google Buzz: i was tired of playing the “public or private?” game. if i say this and tag them, who can see it? if i post this and keyword that, who can find it? if i turn this switch on and that switch off, what does that mean?! i have neither the time nor the inclination to try and figure this out.
and Facebook (and, i thought, Buzz to a certain extent) lend themselves to different kinds of communication. it’s a super-flexy platform — you can have some things private, some things public, some things somewhere in between. and that’s exactly the problem. the more options you have, and the more ways there are to share, the more opaque the controls become. and no matter how many ways you reformat the Privacy controls, it stays opaque. and then newspapers write about how you are killing privacy and permission marketing and you say “BUT THEY CAN TURN IT OFF!” but it’s too late.
whereas twitter is either public OR private. Flickr is either public OR private. my blog is BY NATURE public. no gray areas, no confusion, no muss, no fuss.
will i miss being able to contact that guy i had freshman English class with who i haven’t talked to in ten years? unlikely. will i miss being able to see all the pics of my BFF’s new baby? maybe, but then again i email her and talk to her on the phone, and, ahem, because of Facebook’s controls, i can probably look at those without having an account. or, she could just email me them. in other words, there are way around this sh*t. AAAAND i never have to decline another Farmville invite again.
in other words? totally worth it.
addendum: i do, in fact, have an entirely public facebook account that is PURELY a placeholder, and that i use to Admin my store’s Facebook Page. so if you search for me, you will find it. that being said, i don’t actually use it to POST anything, it’s just there as a courtesy measure and a unfortunate necessity, since, you know, EVERYONE is on facebook, and people like to be friendly. which is fine with me.