Facebook has had many missteps over the past few years, both with regard to privacy and design. That fact can’t be overlooked. 99% of that, though, I can forgive. It is all part of moving from a physical world, where interaction is analog (either face to face or over the telephone) to the digital world (where interactions are passive and broadcast to everyone.) In fact, Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team should be complimented for taking the risks that they have to push the world of interaction in a new direction. They have created something that started out in 2004 as a dating site for Harvard University students and turned it into the premier social networking site on the internet. Today Facebook has more than 1 billion active users. If you think about that for a second, that’s 3 active accounts for every man, woman and child in the United States.
The reasons that I am leaving this social juggernaut are much more mundane. To begin, I just don’t find it that useful anymore. I have 249 friends on Facebook, of which I don’t really interact with that many. This creates a lot of clutter in my life that I don’t really need. To pick through all of the gifs (pictures) that people have re-posted that contain spiritual quotes, inspirational sayings or funny comments can be VERY tedious to say the least. The problem with Facebook’s popularity is that people share things on a whim, and 99% of it does not interest me, and just winds up being a waste of my time, taking me away from the things that are really important (my family, my girlfriend and my job).
Another reason that I am leaving is because Facebook really hasn’t done anything new to keep me there. Most of the innovation around Facebook is due to it’s enormous popularity. They, understandably, are trying to capitalize on that popularity, so they have introduced things like promoted posts and the ubiquitous “Like” button. But all that does is add more clutter to my life, there is no value to me knowing that Sally Sue “likes” WalMart. I can sign up for new services with Facebook’s Social Graph, but why the heck would I want to share ALL of the information that share with Facebook to a new service? Sure it makes it easy, but think about it, would you give all of the pictures of yourself for the last two years to a complete stranger? Lastly, there has been no innovation in communication. I still use Facebook in pretty much the same way that I did in 2006 when I joined. The one exception is that I can access Facebook from my mobile phone on the deplorable excuse for an app on my Android phone (like the app on the iPhone it’s slow and buggy.)
So what will I do going forward. One week from today (on December 17, 2012) I am going to deactivate my Facebook account. I pledge not to post anything for a minimum of two months. I will not appear in people's timelines, you will not be able to find me by searching for me, and I will not receive any of the messages that are sent to me. If on February 17th, 2013 I decide that I need to come back I will. Until that time you will be able to find me on Google+. The service has many more features and works better with my lifestyle than Facebook. If anyone is interested in joining me, I invite you to add me to your circles (once you check it out that will make more sense.) You all may say that Google+ is just a less popular version of Facebook, and to some point you are right, but Google+ has a better layout, better tools and more organization than Facebook ever thought of. Besides, Google already knows everything about me.
So, to all of my Facebook friends: See you on February 17th, or maybe not.