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thru the flowers

maura @ 8:27 am

It’s a curious thing, this quitting Facebook. Not that I was ever a heavy (or unconflicted) fb user, but I definitely miss it for all the reasons I thought I would: it was nice to have the opportunity to keep up with folks I don’t see often, and now I don’t get to see pictures of everyone’s kids. Lots of people are on Twitter, but not everyone. And of course there are those blasted private fb links that sometimes get sent around, the very existence of which presumes that the entire world is on fb (and why wouldn’t they be?).

Last Friday was my birthday so of course I also missed seeing those HBD messages come rolling in throughout the day. I moped about it a bit, though not too much since I was at a scholarly communications workshop all day, which was a fun + nerdy way to spend my birthday. I also had a moment of panic when I realized that there are lots of folks whose birthdays I don’t know but wish I did, and I’m annoyed that I outsourced that part of my brain to fb. I remembered to ask a few people when their birthdays are though I need to ask still more.

les tags: , ,

money, meet mouth

maura @ 10:52 pm


So I quit Facebook the other day. Jaron Lanier’s keynote at ACRL (which I didn’t agree with 100% but was interesting and thought-provoking) was kind of the trigger, though I’d been thinking about it and thinking about it for a year, maybe more. Also, unlike JL, my cats are not and will not be on Facebook.

I’d resisted for so long because of all of the accumulated social capital there, of course. Family members who live far away, old friends I’d lost touch with before the rise of FB, photos of my nieces and nephews, even library folks right here in my actual city that I don’t see as often as I’d like. But I’d always felt a little weird there, as I’ve blogged before. And I could never figure out a way to keep up with it, despite my best efforts (ditto Friend Feed, which I joined but can’t find the time for — honestly, even Twitter can be a struggle during the busy parts of the semester).

Why’d I quit? The usual reasons. Most corporations don’t care about privacy, but Facebook seems particularly sleazy about it. Also I hate that they’re making money with all of my stuff: my thoughts, ideas, photos, relationships, etc. Not that Google* and lots of others don’t do that, too, but the walled garden of FB makes it seem even worse.

* I have similar thoughts about Google and don’t use gmail for that very reason, but I am a slave to gdocs and my whole library uses gcalendar so there you go, clearly I’m a giant hypocrite.

I don’t miss it at all, but I do hate the way everyone seems to have moved their events + conversations over to FB without my even noticing. Because now when I click those links I can’t see anything, which is a drag. It’s insidious, really — I hadn’t even realized that had happened until I was chatting with a pal who’s a fellow FB quitter recently.

Anyway, despite my grumpiness I’m glad to have quit — I actually feel lighter and cleaner, if that makes any sense. And now I get to have this spiffy badge on my site, too!

Not f'd — you won't find me on Facebook

les tags: , ,

breathe in, breathe out

maura @ 10:30 pm

So you may have heard that last Monday was Quit Facebook Day. Did you quit? I’ve considered quitting Facebook for a while, and thought about it more when I heard about QFD. Like everyone else I’ve been pretty appalled by the privacy implications of all of the recent Facebook changes: they just keep ratcheting up the stuff that’s public by default at the expense of what’s private by default. Although with this recent round of changes I was finally motivated to go in and tweak my own account settings (restricting everything to friends only) which is frankly something I should have done a long time ago.

But I also went in and removed my college + grad school info, because one of the changes is that those institutions are now automatically linked to a dynamically generated page that pulled everyone with those institutions into one place. And while I loved college, I’m not really all that interested in appearing on a page with everyone else who went to my college, too. I never added much other info into Facebook so there wasn’t anything else to remove, but I hear that similar things happened with all of the other “interests” people list on their profiles. Which is just cruddy.

I definitely have a tortured relationship with Facebook. There are many things I like about it, but it stresses me out a bunch, too. I am old enough that it is still kind of weird to me to essentially have lots of people I’ve known at many different stages of my life together in the same room. I also see fb’s hypnotic + addictive side — it’s just too easy to lose an hour poking around to see what everyone’s up to (though maybe since I’m not on it that often it takes me longer when I do visit).

Since I don’t spend that much time on Facebook it was easy to envision myself quitting, but in the end I just couldn’t do it. I hate to say it, esp. since fb is monetizing (ugh, such an evil word) my info, but there’s too much of value there for me to quit. There are quite a few of my extended family members that I rarely see in person that I’m in touch with because of Facebook. And all of those friends who have moved away, acquaintances from college + high school + earlier, pictures of their kids, etc. etc. etc.

This week was the most glaring example of why I haven’t quit Facebook, which I will share even though it’s kind of embarrassing. My birthday was this week, and it was really, really nice to read all of those well-wishing messages from folks on Facebook. I have my fb email forward to my regular email so I didn’t even have to login to fb to see them: anytime I checked my email, there they were, and they came in throughout the day. I’m totally lame, I know, but it made me smile.

Except now I feel kind of guilty, too, because I don’t tend to leave HBD messages for folks unless I happen to be checking in that day, and I don’t check into Facebook that often. Guess I should change my ways to keep on keeping on with the good karma, huh?