Along with so many other people, I decided to delete FaceBook. It sounds easy, but how can I really one day cut off so many people, who I only have contact with through this app?
My first contact with internet social was on message boards, which I visited during college. When I found chat rooms, I was very happy to find like minded people texting back and forth about the games they were playing and how they were souping up their gaming computers. I was a frequent visitor to a chat room where we picked apart every little thing Leo Leporte and Patrick Norton had said on the Screen Savers. One day, I was shocked to be drawn out of a chat, about what graphics execration card was best for questing games, to a private chatroom where some guy began pumping me for personal information. When he found out that I was not only married, but over 30 the private chat was over. That made me pretty wary of chatrooms after that.
I gladly paid to join ClassMates. There were only a few of the many friends I had lost touch with, who I really wanted to find again. I found almost of them on ClassMates. I recently found that ClassMates was still in business. Go figure! After finding the friends I could and giving up on finding the rest, I lost interest in Classmates.
Years later when MySpace came along, I was much older, living in Hawaii, and no longer married. Everyone was joining, so I did too. I mainly joined because the friends I had found with Classmates had joined. I hated My Space. I didn’t like how public it was. When you are a single woman of a certain age and live in a primo destination young men like to make you offers, which usually included you paying for their airfare and providing them a place to stay. When FaceBook came along and supplanted My Space as the new social platform, I was thrilled. I assumed that I would follow my friends from social network to social network over the years.
Who knew that FaceBook would have such staying power?
Every change FaceBook made, made me like it less. In my early days with FaceBook I got deeply into the Zynga games. I went so deep down that rabbit hole that I was actually having my ex husband play my games while I was at sea, so that my plants would not die in Farmville and that mob in Mafia Wars would not lose out on some great weapons and loot. When it got to the point that I had opened up five fake FaceBook accounts so that I could play each game with six characters, I knew I had to go cold turkey. I was spending too much time each day on the games. It was hard, but I walked away, and eventually FaceBook let me block all the invitations from my friends trying to lure me back into the games. Even today, I worry what happened to my digital pets in Petville and my cafe in Cafe World.
Once free from the games, I stilled enjoyed keeping up with my friends. When my mother joined it was something to look forward to when my ship was in port, to catch up with what she had been up to while I was at sea. The first time I ever began to dislike FaceBook itself was when some friends died, and FaceBook kept bombarding me with post that read, “XXX likes Walmart!” accompanied by a photo of my smiling friend. The first few times it happened, I had that rush of hope that the announcement of their death had been premature. No such luck. I hated to do it, but I had to block them as friends to keep FaceBook from trying to keep them alive to sell me things.
When mother passed away, I hated to have to block her, but I couldn’t risk having my heart bounced up and down like that. Also when my mother passed, I had to block a good part of my family. FaceBook had become a place where they felt that they had not only the right, but the duty to tell me what I horrible daughter I had been. My aunt wrote to me to make sure I knew that she knew the things my relative said were not true. I was glad that I was able to tell her that as soon as mother died I blocked her account, knowing that those people who had access to it and would use it as a weapon against me.
Though mother was gone, I carried on with FaceBook out of habit, becoming more and more disillusioned with it. I have frozen my account twice, just to get away from all the politics and negativity. I hated using it, but didn’t want to lose track of the old friend I had found and the new digital ones I was making. Once I connected with a man named Don Brown, who was a musician. As it turned out, he was not the banjo playing Don Brown I went to college with, but a guitar playing minister, who was friends with an old high school chum. I have truly enjoyed his posts.
Finally, I decided FaceBook had to go in its current form. I decided to start a new profile without the openness I started the first one with. I need to get rid of the account I had kept up for years, killing all the data FaceBook had collected on me. Leo Leporte, yes that Leo Leporte, advised his viewers to download their FaceBook archive before deleting their account. I downloaded it and luckily I thought to review the files before deleting my account. You would think that the archive would have everything that was on your timeline at the very least. I was shocked to find out that it downloaded photos, but not the captains, or comments. The information downloaded from my timeline was equally as scanty.
Now I was a a quandary. I didn’t want to lose all the conversations I had had with Mother and my other friends over the years. It took a few days, but I scrolled back to my first entry on my timeline and took screenshots of every single post I had made, right up to this week. I should say, not every single post that was still there. I was surprised at how much had just evaporated. The last three months of 2017, are for the most part gone. So much of the rest was gone as well. I am glad that no one ever thought about deleting or freezing my my mothers account. Most of her comments were still there, but I could see that some of them were missing. I also went through my photos, taking screenshots of all the comments, so that I would not lose all the funny things people said about them.
The new profile is a new start. It is only there to keep track of people, and to let people keep track of me. Otherwise, all my opinions and rants will be here on my blog, where if you don’t want to read my musings, you do not have to. I vow that on FaceBook I will keep my personal opinions on politics, society, and religion to myself. I will not drop you as a friend no matter how much I disagree with you. I will not comment or react to any non-personal posts and shares you make. I will, from time to time look through your post to see what you have posted that is personal to you, which does not tempt me to be an A-hole in response. I will keep my snarkiness to myself. I will treat FaceBook as a public space where I need to be on my best behavior.
This post is the first one that will appear on my new profile. I plan on following it with several more post telling about the insights I gleaned from going back over my FaceBook History.