Good Riddance Facebook, and well done Jenn Marie

I took a very similar decision a few months back — from a full-on engaged Facebook user (one of the earliest adopter of Facebook when none of my “friends” were there), I left Facebook “cold turkey”; just could not take the hypocrisy and inanity any longer.

Facebook taught me that in this world, words such as “like”, and “Unlike”, and “friends” have no real meaning. I’d write comments on other people’s wall but none of them would reciprocate or return that courtesy. It was almost like a one-way passage where there was no way you could engage in any meaningful conversation (let alone debate) with anyone (when there were some, things would turn pear shaped as you wrote here).

Yet, as long as I was posting in my friends’ timelines, posting in my timelines, and people would come and “like” them, or as long as “Facebook” would remind them about birthdays and time events, it would be one thing. Soon after I left the platform, none (except a couple of my “friends”) emailed me to know how I was doing. My absence was not really noticed, thanks to the “running apps” that posted some stupid running logs on my behalf (so the bots ensured I still lived “in” Facebook). I disappeared, but no one cared.

No one cares. Seriously.

Doesn’t matter anyway. But the lesson I took away was that, at the end of the day, “I”, or my identity does not matter; does not matter if I physically cease to exist. Which would not occur in real world relationships.

A few months on, when I look back on my interactions in that medium, it appears more and more that Facebook is playing a dangerous game with the social health. At the least, engagement in Facebook is inflicting significant damage to our collective societal mental and social interactivity — the heady interaction stuff is fun, but its consequences are sobering in that, it more and more isolates and makes you, the individual inconsequential. Compared with applications such as, say, “Medium” or blogging platforms, where you have the liberty to write longer posts, solicit or ignore responses, and fork responses, what you write and receive being part context sensitive part not, Facebook stymies and guides your responses and plays games with you at your cost of time and emotion. In facebook, you are eventually “trapped” into a false belief that you have “friends” who “like” your contributions. Unless you have skills to weave through the absurdities of online social interactions and cut it out, you are stuck. It’s perhaps not the fault of Facebook or its carefully built network topology, it is most likely more to do with humans and the way we are, but the relationships are complex and difficult to untangle.

Hence, more power to you for cutting the chord!

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in:

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