When I recently removed myself, and all records of me (to the extent I’m allowed), from the alleged “social network” known as Facebook most of my Facebook Friends simply did not care.
Just 8 percent of the people on my Facebook Friends list responded to my request to keep in touch by alternate means. Those alternate means in this case being Twitter and by signing up for email alerts to posts from my blog.
If you arrived at this post from one of my email alerts, I genuinely thank you. You are one of the few.
This frigid response came despite each Facebook Friend receiving a message on Facebook Messenger. I also put up a “Facebook Breakup Announcement” post on my Facebook Page. I emailed every Friend for whom I had an email address.
In the days leading up to deleting all of my data, I was also posting on Facebook about my effort to depart the site. It wasn’t really a secret that I was getting off Facebook. I was simply asking my “friends” to follow the same kinds of things I would do on Facebook via my blog.
I am a writer who takes pictures and sometimes makes music. I let it be known I would be writing about my Facebook experience – I’m not allowed to delete or deactivate my account — and asked f people to participate in a single-day Facebook boycott on April 11 when Mark Zuckerberg was testifying before congress.
I wrote blog posts about how to get off Facebook and posts about my experience as a digital hostage of Facebook. I promoted the posts on my Twitter feed, sometimes posting directly to the feeds of some of the people I had invited to follow my blog or to simply keep in touch. I adapted my posts into diaries on the liberal Daily Kos commentary site, with links back to my blog posts.
I had some hope that I would at least attract perhaps 25 percent of my Facebook Friends who could help spread the word. I also appealed to some of my friends in working press, hoping one of them would maybe retweet a link or post something to Facebook.
I was met with widespread indifference.
My “social network” largely failed me. There was very little traffic to the site or much reaction to my Tweets.
At one point, a TV station in Jackson, Miss., posted an online story linking to one of my Twitter posts. I received a slight uptick in traffic.
I seized on the opportunity by directly appealing to many of my old Facebook Friends via email in an effort to make the post go viral. This had almost no impact. Almost no one I contacted took any kind of action.
When I left Facebook I somehow became instantly ignorable, even invisible. Who cares if he’s leaving Facebook? Who cares about why? Why keep in touch when Facebook is the way to stay in touch? Facebook is free and seemingly easy, after all.
In short, for many people I had connected with on the social network Facebook, I was not a “friend” at all without my Facebook presence. What I had to say was too much effort, no longer worth reading because it didn’t arrive spoon-feed by Facebook post.
Without Facebook I am a digital non-person.
Facebook is a commercial enterprise feeding off what its “users” produce – data and interactions that are then used to create highly targeted advertising. At the same time, Facebook has become an essential promotional vehicle for many small businesses. Not on Facebook? How legit can you be?
People feel beholden to Facebook. Many people cannot envision a life with out it and its enabler, the smartphone.
The alleged “social network” has turned its users into self-absorbed zombies who think they’re connected with others when in fact they are emotionally desensitized to actual communication.
Facebook strands individuals emotionally, socially, commercially and spiritually within it’s vast, closed and poorly run digital island realm, which is often mistaken for the Internet itself.
This is simply the cost of “free” online “social networking” driven by unbridled technology, unlimited greed and infinite hubris.
Too bad no one cares.