2018: Day 94 the one where I deactivated my Facebook account
Word count 181,537 + 1,576 or 183,113 of 1,000,000
3 things real quick… First, let me be clear that this post is not a call to action to deactivate or permanently delete your Facebook account. This is not a political statement. Some of the current political statements did get me thinking about the need to keep Facebook. Second, I personally find Facebook as a platform annoying and I do not want to engage with the application or company at this time. That is a personal preference and a personal decision. I will try to explain it within the course of this blog post. You might really like Facebook. That really has nothing to do with my decision. Third, I have not requested my account to be permanently deleted at this time.
This is one of those blog posts that I should probably proofread before posting. We will see how far that one goes. I’m sure at some point proofreading will happen. It is 20:39 hours and this post goes live in a little over an hour. That probably means whatever editing happens will be fairly limited.
Today was one of those days. I was trying to keep up with the ever changing stream of things. None of them really very consequential, unique, or really all that useful, but they were all part of a very constant stream of things. That being said one good thing did happen today. It did not happen exactly the way I planned it or how I thought it would work. Today was the day that I went to deactivate my Facebook account. After a few clicks my data had been requested. A few minutes later about 200 megabytes of data was downloaded. My new Corsair Air 740 computer case build has a Windows Storage Pool setup. That is my first multiple drive storage pool setup using the Windows feature. It is capable of holding a modest 2 terabytes of data. That should be plenty of space for me for now.
Anyway, the data was downloaded and it is hanging out within the Storage Pool. It was a lot less photos and videos than I remember posting over the years. The quality is generally horrible. I have no idea why the folks over at Facebook never forget to keep tabs on every scrap of my personal data, but cannot manage to keep a high quality photograph. That is a discussion for another day perhaps even another time. The download of my data was pretty easy and something that I suggest you do anyway for fun if you are an avid Facebook user. You can probably tell by the title of this post that today was the end of my run with Facebook. I went into the settings section and went to deactivate my account. I followed the prompts and filled out the forms. At the end of all of that clicking and typing a prompt jumped up to let me know that my account could be reactivated at any time by just logging into Facebook.
That was really perplexing. It made me realized that the deactivation of an account was in no way shape or form Facebook deleting my account. Sure that might seem like simple semantics, but it is really a big difference. Strangely enough the Google search for, “how to permanently delete facebook account,” auto completes as you are typing. People must ask about that all the time. It is perhaps a common search term. Apparently you have to follow the link in one of the help articles and jump through some hoops to delete your account. Which they clearly state can take up to 90 days to get the data purged from their servers. I have not taken that step at the moment. Mostly out of pure laziness at this point. I had presumed that deactivation would take care of this, but being a sticky user experience company they had to make it harder than it should be to stop using the service.
You might be wondering how my interest in pushing Facebook out of my life happened. Some time ago they banned one of my family members for no real reason. It just seemed rather arbitrary. For the sake of solidarity I logged in and suspended my account for 7 days. That was strangely liberating. My ability to remember the things I read and see has not diminished over the years. For me scrolling through Facebook is really just loading up things to remember. Most of it is not stuff that I need to recall. Checking Facebook several times a day was just crushing my productivity and creating excuses for me not to churn out 3,000 words per day. To that end and based on my lack of interest in engaging with the company anymore I went in and hit deactivate on my account. I’m guessing that those folks still using the service can see my profile and I’m now in what they would call the non-active daily user camp. For me I do not want to be in any of their camps. I have limited interest in the methods they use to target me for advertisements or the ways in which the collect my data.
I’m never going to buy a super expensive sports car… sometimes I look at photographs of them because to me it is a form of art. The aesthetics are something I enjoy viewing. Using that piece of information to try to sell me things is useless and utterly annoying. For the most part I’m just tired of being part of a giant deep learning experiment to mine my personal data. Google at least produces products that I use. For what it’s worth I really do believe Tensorflow is changing the world of artificial intelligence. On the plus side of things I did learn how to take a screenshot on my Chromebook. Apparently, generating the thumbnail for my blog post today was the first occasion where I wanted to take a screenshot. I looked all over the keyboard for the print screen button. That does not exist on my ASUS C101P Chromebook keyboard. You have to hit the “Ctrl” key and “Switch window” key at the same time. The screenshot is thing stored in your files oddly enough under downloads. I was sort of expecting the directory to be called screenshots, but hey whatever works for Chromebook storage I guess.
Using Facebook benefited me in the following ways:
1. By allowing people to communicate with me via messenger
2. By helping me remember birthdays (this is the one thing I will probably miss the most)
3. By keeping up to date on the happenings of folks I went to college and high school with
That is pretty much it when it comes to use cases related to my usage of Facebook as a social media platform. I’m really easy to find online and people who need my phone number generally have it. Some folks even know how to engage with me via written correspondence. That helps solve the first use case. At some point, I will have to sit down and set up recurring reminders for the important birthdays on my calendar. That use case may require a little bit of effort, but it can be solved. I’ll consider the second use case to be solved pending some effort on my part to true up my calendar. Dealing with the third use case is a little bit more complex. Ok —- it is a lot more complex. Out of the 300+ folks friended on Facebook I speak to maybe 50 of them verbally in any given year. Having at least one real-time verbal conversation per year is probably the tipping point on this one. That means the vast majority of folks generate content and I consume it like I would a yearbook, local newspaper, or maybe like blogs circa 2001.
Solving for that last use case is probably going to be problematic. It probably means that I will have to make an effort to communicate with people who I want to catch up with. It will also change the dynamic of that communication. People who I talk with will have to recap things for me since I’m not keeping up on the all of the happenings on Facebook in real-time. That might seem like a slight distinction, but it is a really telling part of the whole social media framework. People do not have to catch up or have as deep of conversations as they used to based on the level of content being shared in a very asynchronous way. It may very well be the case that people are not as used to trying to catch people up in the ways that they used to based on conversation. A steady diet of digital breadcrumbs may have been enough to diminish the superb skill of providing a recap.
If you made it this far into the post, then you probably have a good idea of what happened and why it happened. Thank you for making it this far and I hope my musing have provided you some amusement or they have provided a few thoughts about things. That is really the basis of writing to a reader instead of just assuming my blog posts are written for my own personal amusement.
Dr. Nels Lindahl
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs