Operation ‘So Long Facebook’, pt. 2


(Click here for pt. 1 of #opsolongfb)

— Amsterdam, the Netherlands —

26.02.2012. 2:13pm

A rainy day, as there are so many in this city of bridges. Somewhere, behind a small window of an attic room, that was transformed into a rudimentary studio, I’m repeating a sequence of movements…Scroll. Click. Copy&Pase. Send. Scroll. Click… For me it’s the day on which, finally, #opsolongfb is entering its second stage, a stage that will take some work, a stage that will determine whether this operation will be successful.

Yesterday I wrote a message that is now shared on my wall. It contains my email address and a link to my first blog post, which kicked of this operation. There is another message, with some more detail. It’s for those I know personally, those I want to stay in touch with, those I want to give a safer opportunity to reconnect with me, than the odds of being online before my wallpost has disappeared in the depths of Facebook. And that’s what I’m doing right now…Going through a list of roughly 700 friends, trying to filter out the ‘worthy’ ones. If you read this and know me well, please forgive me if you didn’t receive such a message. I probably skipped half the people whom should have received it by accident. Still… it’s a weird process. It’s weird to notice, that with half the names I come across my first though is…’who now?’. It’s weird so see some faces who once mattered a lot to me. And despite the constant possibility to connect with them I didn’t.

I continue my rather dull task. Scroll. Click. Copy&Pase. Send. Scroll. Click…

And caught in this mantra, for the first time since the day of the deactivation I can sense a slight feeling of nostalgia arising. I know, I’m really doing this. What was a normal part of my life yesterday is now something I go through great lengths to get rid of. Copy&Pase. Send. Scroll….And, seeing all these kind-of-interesing news articles on people walls, all these slightly funny cartoons, all these probably-not-true conspiracy theories, all these somewhat informative updates on what people had to eat today…I can’t prevent a smile, thinking back of all these moments I kept scrolling though the newsfeed, like a zombie newsfeeding on bits and pieces of information…no, it’s the right decision to quit Facebook. At least for me it is.

Click.

On some profiles I stop for a second and go through some picture. This will be the last time it’s so easy to see what my friends are up to. Next time I’ll need to write a mail to request pictures. What a challenge! And let’s be real…I will lose touch with many. I won’t know what that one person on the other side of the globe is doing anymore, who they’re hanging out with. But to be honest…really, brutally honest. With most people I did just not care too much. I didn’t care too much about seeing them, happy, with people I didn’t know. I liked to see them happy. But the rest of their life was just too far away from my own, little, personal reality to connect with it. I think Facebook advertises with the possibly to connect to everyone on the globe. But what’s that connection worth if there’s nothing beyond 1’s and 0’s maintaining it?

Scrooooll. I’m at P now…almost done.

I’m very aware of what I’m doing here. I choose some people I want to stay in touch with. But then again, these people chose if they want to stay in touch with me. It’s a very tense situation. And I don’t have the illusion that I will receive a mail from even half of them. And I would probably enter a major depression if I focus on all the ones, who didn’t write, who didn’t see our connection as being more than 1’s and 0’s anymore. But the solution would probably to just not spent too much thought on who didn’t reply. Because I think that only if a connection carries some reciprocity it has even the tiniest potential to be a good one.

Send…I almost reached the end of the list. Just two more people…and done.

Now to the, maybe hardest part. The actual deletion. Once again, I scroll through some profiles, have a look at some groups, feel myself being sucked into Facebook again, for a second feel again like the scroll-zombie I used to be at times…until I decide that this is the moment.

I will delete my Facebook account. Please write me a mail if you want to stay in touch. Note that I want to say goodbye to Facebook. Not to you.

So that’s my last wall post. Or something like that, I can’t remember or check back. But I though it was a good moment to throw in some drama. Just for fun.

I enter the Facebook help file and search for ‘delete’. The correct option pops up instantly. After all it’s not as difficult to find the button for actually deleting my account, as some people told me. A window shows…Areyousureyouwantobladybladyblah…Yes…password…unreadable captcha…unreadblecaptchagain…andagain…

And now I have to wait 14 days until my account is actually deleted. And now some light anxiety pops up. What if nobody replies? What if I’m completely blocked from social life now? I don’t want to reactivate my profile, but these coming days will show if I can really pull this.

Op. ‘So Long Facebook’ is not complete yet. Let’s see what the coming two weeks will bring. I will keep you posted.

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Because…


You know where I think to see a difference? If you are off Facebook, you will get an invite from people who want you to be there. If you get an invite on Facebook there is a chance that the one inviting you could not care less about your actual presence.

It’s not an argument against Facebook. It’s not even a reason to leave the network. But it might, at least in part, explain this question that I’ve been pondering the last couple of days:

Why is it so easy not to be on Facebook?

In retrospect…very surprised.

Good night.

Operation ‘So Long Facebook’


(Click here for pt. 2 of #opsolongfb)

Hello everybody and welcome to my blog!

This page is part of a bigger project. The project to finally get off Facebook for good….The legendary social network…

There are many reasons to leave Facebook and many reasons to stay on it. Arguably, there are a lot of advantages connected with staying. I mean, there is a reason that despite all these close-to-criminal terms of services, despite the fact that everything you post automatically becomes property of Facebook, despite the (very) addictive properties and despite not knowing whatever happens to ones data…many people choose to remain part of the network.

And I can perfectly empathize with that. My decision to quit Facebook is a hard one. It means making life more complicated and potentially losing contacts that could be useful in the future. Not to speak of the useful event function I won’t be able to use anymore. How will I know what’s going on in my city, in the world? Will I not miss out on many opportunities to meet people online and in real life? The answer to that is probably…yes, I will. The question then is, if this will actually affect my life negatively. And the answer to that is…I don’t know. Only time will tell.

So far I have ben off the grid for a bit more than a week and I feel very good about it. Contrary to what I would have expected, I had a socially and creatively very satisfying time. The cause for that could be my Facebook blackout. But who knows? I would love to conclude that leaving Facebook improved my life but it’s clearly to early to tell. What I can say so far though: The action to pick up a cellphone and call a friend to get dinner is much rather taken if not given the instant gratification that Facebook provides. Without a constant illusion of a social life, I feel much more prone to actually having one. Also, without my lengthy dwelling times, staring at a screen and waiting that someone – oh someone –  would please LIKE the picture I just posted, unsurprisingly I have more time to go out, play guitar or study.

But I’m only in the first phase of my operation. At this point, my Facebook profile is merely deactivated. This means that nobody can see it, but I can reactivate it by merely logging in. Until I actually delete my account, (hopefully) nuking all the information I ever posted, some steps want to be taken. And one of these steps was to crate a WordPress blog. So hi there :).

In sum, my plan is to replace many of the advantages that Facebook offers. I am spreading my email address to people I want to stay in touch with. I created this blog in order to still share interesting things I found on the web. I relaunched my twitter for similar purposes. I discovered Flickr for sharing my photos without giving away the copyright to hands, smelling of corporate money.  And when I want to meet people, I recently started doing something I haven’t done in a while. I picked up a phone and called. And it worked!

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have the illusion that all this will replace Facebook. But I do have the illusion that I don’t have to accept all these concerns connected to my Facebook profile in order to have a satisfying social life and a good experience on the internet. Let’s see if this is indeed an illusion.

I’d say…Operation ‘so long Facebook’…initiated.

Cheers!