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It seems rather fashionable for some to dramatically announce their deletion of facebook accounts, to shun it, to urge others to quit, after all, all the cool kids are doing it.

I never quite followed the logic of whether it was 250, 400, 500, 600 million people “could not be wrong about facebook” — why cant many people be wrong? It’s happened before. That logic #fails me, and falls into the scolding your mom would say if you used the “everybody else is doing it” logic.

You could make long lists of the reasons- the privacy issues, the way the interface changes so much you never know how to use it– and I still am offended at the stingy way they suck in external media but do not reciprocate in return.

I’ve never found quite the allure to Facebook, nor the draw. People who are not my friends thinking they are. But that’s just me.

But quitting seems to pointless. Or impactless. So I have an evil plot. I am keeping my facebook account, but I have completely neutralized its presence. I belong to no groups, like nothing, or use anything that sucks in my information (well I thought I did all this,its hard to tell).

My last status update was more than a month ago:

In effect, Facebook is a hungry greedy monster who wants to eat eat eat eat gorge all of your data and habits. I stand there not feeding it. I will fester there like a small virus.

Of course my cunning plan will have no effect on the mothership. Maybe if 250 millions joined me, we could starve it internally… yeah right. But I at least feel like a sneaky rat. An undercover spy. A saboteur. And more dangerous than a quitter.

(smacks his paws together in devilish glee)

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. A noble plan. Make sure that you stay logged out of FB when not using it, and set your browser to refuse third party cookies when they’re of the FB ilk, as they have a habit of slurping and monitoring even your non-FB activity, via the awful and insidious Like button. Maybe the best strategy is to have a dedicated FB browser, used for nothing but FB, and never log into FB elsewhere. It won’t block them from tracking you (such is the web) but at least the tracking won’t be linked to your account.

  2. I agree with the impactlessness of quitting. After reconfiguring my FB experience, I feel like I can hang. I get some pleasure from doing it my way, I suppose.

  3. So your tweet from today was pretty misleading as to what this blogpost actually said. According to your tweet, “To me deleting accounts does nothing. Better to neutralize account / protest in it” (https://twitter.com/cogdog/status/281093915703123968). But in this blogpost you say “Of course my cunning plan will have no effect on the mothership. Maybe if 250 millions joined me, we could starve it internally… yeah right.”

    So in other words … deleting a social media account is just as ineffective as neutralizing / protesting in it. Yes?

    1. Touché, I guess I should have read my own blog post. Thanks for fact checking me!

      Actually I have no way of knowing that there is really an impact either way. If 10,000,000 people deleted their facebook accounts, it would likely trigger some internal alert. I think they track those stats. If 10,000 people left their account up neutralized with a singular message, well it might get notice too.

      It’s an individual’s choice. My own sense is that a deleted account will get no notice inn the rush. But leaving an inert account with a message? I might be a note in a bottle in an ocean, but it might also get noticed.

      How about you tell me what you think?

      1. I agree that it’s an individual’s choice — but for Facebook specifically, I think it actually doesn’t matter any which way from the site’s perspective. Even if you “delete” your account, any data you created by using the service remains in their database, and they will continue to mine and use that data to make money. There isn’t any way to ensure your data is removed from their database (or, at least, there wasn’t when I deleted my account a couple of years ago). So, the worst you can do is refuse to give FB any MORE data (which is effectively the same thing you are doing when you simply leave your account inert).

        The argument I would make towards deleting accounts, instead of leaving them inert, is that is prevents you from giving into the temptation to go back to the service. By deleting your FB account, you are ensuring that you won’t be tempted to use that account to authenticate into other services or log in to “just take a quick peek.”

        Facebook in particular makes it pretty complicated to completely delete (as opposed to “deactivating” your account, whatever that means). The instructions are non-intuitive and not readily available via the built-in help system. When you do finally make it through the deletion request process, you have to refrain from logging into that account for two weeks, otherwise the deletion request will be halted and you’ll have to start all over again.

        What this tells me is that Facebook *does not want users* to delete accounts … not because the deletion itself causes them any harm, but because it’s harder to suck people back in when they have to create a brand-new account, and easier to suck people back in when they have an inert or deactivated account sitting there waiting for them.

        Basically, it’s not about the technical process, it’s about social engineering, taking advantage of human tendencies and behaviors especially in the context of habit-forming. By deleting your account altogether, you are protecting your future self against the reversion to habit that Facebook is betting on.

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