Why I Deleted My Facebook and Why You Should Too
Social networking has become an integral part of our culture in the United States, and I would argue around the world. A primary issue with social networking is the loss of privacy that it entails. In our modern world information is power, we disregard the value of our own personal information but it’s worth a large amount of money to many different groups of people. The most commonly thought of group that our personal information is interesting to is Advertisers, and while they are interested in your personal information they are not the only group that is. Other groups to keep in mind when posting on social networks are your government, employer, researchers, and many other groups.
I think when determining whether or not you should use a social network you should weigh out the positives and negatives of a network and decide based upon those wether or not it is necessary that you use the network.
Why Should I Use Facebook
- It helps me stay in contact with “friends”.
- It gives me a sense of self, and allows me to express myself.
- It lets people know ME. (I will argue against this later.).
- It’s the easiest way to contact my family and friends!
Why Shouldn’t I Use Facebook
- Your private interests are broadcast to the rest of the world.
- Even if your profile is set to private agencies can access your profile through a friends profile. (Engadget drew attention to this issue here.)
- Your information is sold to private advertising companies and you becoming targeted and conditioned by companies to buy their products. (The Huffington Post talks about this issue here.)
- You becoming profiled by friends and family. (Meaning people can learn, or assume many things about you by your public appearance.)
- You could potentially be denied jobs in the future based on what you post, or lose your current job. (Some examples are here.)
- You are Facebook’s product. They have nothing else to sell or trade so you are what they are selling. (Business Week talks about this here!)
- There are better alternatives at the time of me writing this then Facebook. (Diaspora, Twitter and Google+).
Now after asking yourself why you are using Facebook, if you have come to the decision that you no longer wish to be a part of Facebook you will run into a few obstacles.
How To Get Off Facebook
- First you are going to need to inform your many friends and family that you are leaving the social networking site. (Maybe even link them this article as an explanation as to why you are.) You are also going to need to provide them with an alternative method of contact such as e-mail, Skype, Google+, or your cellphone number.
- Now that you have informed the world as to your soon departure from Facebook you might want to make a local backup of all the information that you had on Facebook. Facebook surprisingly allows this. To do that simply click on this link.
- Now you need to actually take the step and remove yourself, to do this you are going to have to use a particular link that Facebook doesn’t make easily accessible. This is that link! Be careful because deactivating and deleting your account are very different beasts. Deactivation allows you to simply log back in and your account will become active again, whereas deleting your account after a 14 day grace period will completely remove all your information from Facebook’s servers… (Or this is how they word it, I’m not sure if this is the case but it’s what I have read.)
- Now you have a 14 day grace period to give into your Facebook addiction. You are going to need to keep yourself busy and preferably without access to Facebook all though that probably wont be possible. I allowed myself to use a few other social networks in the mean time to fill that void and to get my social networking fix. May I suggest Twitter?
- If you lasted the 14 days and removed your old digital persona from Facebook congratulations.
I noticed that removing myself from Facebook gave me more time to focus on other issues in my personal and public life. I think that alternative forms of communication make people fell like you are going out of your way to contact them, which in turn makes them go out of their way to communicate with you. You also force yourself to remember things like birthdays, anniversaries, and events rather then falling back to Facebook for such information. I’m not going to lie the first week being without Facebook is hard, you don’t realize how much you use the website until you don’t have it anymore. That being said, I believe that it’s time to move away from the social networking giant and have more meaningful private conversations.