It's such a simple question and the answers ought to be simple, or so it seems to me, but I have been thinking about this most every hour of the last two days and on and off for several years. The latest data breaches (if giving the data away can be called a breach) give me new incentive to quit, but they aren't compelling. I already give away all sorts of information to Google, post about my life on this website, and have more online accounts than I can remember. There has long been something about Facebook though, something icky, for lack of a better word, that has bothered me and I continue to admire people who aren't unpaid content creators for Zuck.
Why stay then? I connect with people on Facebook. Not good connections, but at least something, and I fear losing touch with our old neighbors, a girl I used to date, and so on. Then again, are these not good connections worth much of anything?
One good reason to go is time. I know I'm the only one, but I lose an hour at a time to Facebook. That hour isn't productive, doesn't feel good, and yet I give it up as if I have to. If I don't lose an hour all at once, I lose more than an hour coming back throughout the day and night, checking in, hoping something will entertain me.
I just opened Facebook and found four notifications. One was my neighbor's Like! of a reply I made to his post, another was his reply to me. A third was someone else replying to his post and the fourth was a friend Like!-ing something I replied to her. This is what I mean by not good connection. Still, I'm loath to shut down even these "not good" connections. I wonder if those four hits felt like connection at all. Why do I go back for hit after hit of that?
I stopped using the Like!. It seemed to epitomize "not good" connection. To Like! was simply acknowledging something had been posted. It doesn't mean someone had read or really connected. It certainly doesn't mean "like" as we know the term. (A while ago my sister-in-law Like!d Kids With Cancer and we had a lot of fun thinking of her as an angel of pediatric death.) I publish a blog entry such as this, link to it on Facebook, and in a moment someone Like!s the Facebook post. They haven't have read the blog, aren't responding to my writing, and I don't know what the hell they are doing. My wife says, they're trying to be nice. She's right, I'm sure, but what's nice about Like!?
It's not that I think Like! people are rude or superficial (though there is nothing much more superficial than a Like!), it's that I can't figure out what all of us are doing. It seems to me to be less foolish than insane.
Is it time to leave Facebook? Of course. It was time five years ago. It was time last month. It was time when I posted this:
Yet I still haven't deleted my account. Weakness? Maybe it's the sort of thing to which I need to adjust. Maybe I'll just rip the bandage off and quit. I'll regret it for sure, like a recovering drunk dreams of going back to the bottle, but I bet I'll feel better, better, and better. So much better I'll Like! it.
There is irony in the fact that below this line is a button by which you can Like! this post. Sigh.