1) Facebook wastes time.
This is by far the biggest reason I am quitting Facebook. Some say that time is money! Well in my case not much money but even my time must surely have some value. Time spent on Facebook is largely a waste of time. What do you get after an hour of Facebook? You get a pseudo social interaction that is far less satisfying than a real life social interaction. You get largely inane information. Slowly but surely you end up spending more and more time on Facebook, and true to the law of diminishing returns, get less and less back.
2) I have too many “friends”.
I largely ignored Facebook for many years despite having an account. In hindsight benign neglect was probably the smart Facebook management strategy. About a year ago I started letting everyone and anyone become a friend. Why did I do this? I liked the big numbers. At the time I quit Facebook, I had around 450 friends and somehow that number made me feel like I had accomplished something.
Actually the reverse was true. More friends meant more noise. I was in fact feeding the cyber mosquito buzzing in my ear rather than accomplishing anything valuable. I would say maybe twenty of the people in my Facebook network were really friends. Maybe a hundred others were acquaintances at best. The rest were people I had met somewhere somehow but had no memory of where or when and are now basically strangers. I would rather dump the whole account than individual “friends”. If my real friends want to communicate with then they know my email and if one of my Facebook friends doesn’t know my email then I would question if they are real friends in the first place.
3) Articles about privacy issues are starting to make me paranoid.
I keep reading articles about this or that person who lost his or her job because of what they posted on their profile. That doesn’t worry me too much because I was careful about what I posted to my profile. What does worry me is posting by “friends”, who as I pointed out in “reason 2” are not necessarily friends. This means persons who I don’t really know can post things on my wall that I may not want to mess with. This hasn’t really happened yet but I like to be preemptive about problems.
The movie Social Network suggests that the CEO of Facebook is not very ethical. Other allegations about how Facebook sells your personal information have become more frequent and more troubling. If I was getting something valuable from Facebook then I might take privacy risks but mostly Facebook is a waste of time worth little or no risk of any sort whatsoever.
4) I prefer my blog to Facebook.
I would rather take the time I spend on Facebook on my blog which recently has been neglected. Before Facebook, my blog was my way of communicating to the world. As different as the two systems are one can state that both are internet media management systems that can be used to share information with the world.
I can use my blog to share photos rather than Facebook. I use links to my Photobucket account on my blog to share photo albums. The Photobucket links are permanent unlike the Facebook links. I can organize my Photobucket albums into categories and subcategories rather than the simplistic chronological dump order in which photo folders are arranged in Facebook.
The lack of word processing editing tools in Facebook means typos are the norm rather than the exception. The limit on how long written messages can be means complex discussion is largely impossible. Overly long messages are dumped into your email account! So why not just use your email account in the first place? According to Marshal McLuhan, the media is the message and in the case of Facebook, bad writing is built into the media! Facebook is single handedly destroying the English language and as a language teacher I do not want to be a part of this crime against humanity.
The inability to organize posts in Facebook is maddening. Posts are arranged in the order they were posted period. There is no way to organize posts in categories unlike a blog. Old posts that are superior cannot be put in a more prominent position unlike a blog. A disorganized media management system is an inferior media management system. Facebook is inferior to a blog in the areas of album management, text editing, and post management but does have one advantage over a blog.
Facebook is much, much easier to use than a blog. Elementary school children are actually a huge number of the users on Facebook. I use the WordPress platform for my blog and mastering this platform can actually be quite challenging. If you think easier is better than Facebook wins. If you are willing to accept that more power over media requires more knowledge then a blog wins. There is generally an inverse relationship between ease of use and power when it comes to computer applications. I would rather have more power.
Facebook does allow you to control who sees information that you post unlike a blog. Or at least that is what many users believe. The privacy settings on Facebook are arcane at best and I wonder how many users really use them correctly. I had 450 something friends and with that many friends could not have any assurance of privacy no matter what I did with my privacy settings. Allegations about what Facebook does with your information suggest your information is not actually that private no matter what you do with your privacy settings.
On the other hand, one might argue that comparing a blog and Facebook is an apples and oranges comparison and this might be true. A better argument is that one can compare a blog and Facebook in terms of opportunity cost. Time spent on Facebook is time I could have spent on my blog. Time spent in front of the computer is time I should have spent exercising or interacting with people in real space not cyberspace. I would rather spend time on my blog that is a much more powerful media management system. I also have far more control over than my blog than my Facebook account.
5) I am sick of the steady stream of invitations, notifications, gifts, games requests, quizzes, status updates, like this, pokes, and whatifications in general.
Please note the use of “whatification” is my very own neologism which I hope will go viral. I would define a whatification as a useless and/or annoying social networking interaction. I would say ninety percent of Facebook interactions are whatifications and have become a cyber mosquito buzzing in my ear. Facebook whatifications are the ultimate virtual diet of French fries. You spend time in front of the computer putting on the pounds without receiving any real substance. Much sound signifying nothing.
6) Cyber friendship interferes with real friendship.
Time spent on Facebook is time not spent making real friends in the real world. There is no sense of social distance on Facebook. Persons that are not really friends but at best acquaintances can assume they are friends when you meet them in real life. When you meet an older or more important person in real life you naturally treat that person with a certain level of respect. Web 2.0 is a democratic affair. Differences in rank and position tend to disappear in cyberspace and perhaps that can be a positive as well. Young people raised on the Web 2.0 seem to have lost an understanding of the difference between how one behaves in cyberspace and real space.
I do think we are raising a generation of school kids who spend more time on Facebook than with their friends in the real world and are not learning valuable lessons about body language, social distance, and politeness. Facebook is creating a generation of uber-nerds and this may have profound consequences in the long run.
7) All the cool kids are quitting Facebook!
Facebook used to be cool but how can something with millions of users with no standards for membership be cool anymore? There should be something like Facebook Gold for special members but I probably wouldn’t qualify anyway. Recently, my coolest friends on Facebook have quit Facebook and that got me to wondering. When it’s all said and done, I may be quitting the ultimate social networking site for the most superficial of all social reasons, it’s what the cool kids are doing!
WereVerse Universe Baby!
So true! FB is a waste of time and the more ‘friends’ you have, the worse it gets. Benign neglect is the best maintenance strategy if you’re going to keep your account. I’m not motivated enough to go through the hoops of de-activating my account and ostensibly deleting my photos–which after I found out they were FB’s property, I just put up photos of a Hong Kong reservoir.
“Friends” in quotes is right on!
I agree that Facebook is a waste of time. I have few “friends” limiting myself to people that I honestly care about. I was on Facebook with you since you are my brother and I love you very. I’ll start looking at your blog and website now. You are smart to value your time this way. Everything on Facebook is public property but then so is anything on the computer or phone as well. Life isn’t private overall.
Yeah I wish I had been more selective about signing up friends. In all fairness I did get tons of requests and I have a hard time saying no.
Wouldn’t it have been easier to just limit yourself to no more than x hours/week? I enjoy it in small doses, but there so many better ways to waste time…
Water is a good thing, but too much and you drown (on the other hand , beer is a different story…).
Not a bad idea!
Well done Hugh. Facebook is an utter waste of time. All I ever get a inane messages that have no interest on or bearing to my life, but what the so called friends can post is what is even more annoying. I’ve seen pictures taken at parties 20 odd years ago posted. What right do these people have to post pictures that are so old and could affect other’s lives. Also, as I have oyu email, I guess I’m a true friend.
Its amazing how many emails and comments I have gotten in support of my decision!
After a two month plus hiatus from Facebook. I have returned to Facebook! I love my blog and Facebook is the single best way to dramatically increase traffic about a particular post I care about. I wanted to draw attention to my latest post:
and for better or worse Facebook is the best tool I now have to do this.