A year without Facebook

A year ago I decided to give up using Facebook (FB).  I had several reasons why I wanted to give up using it on a regular basis.  I wrote a blog post about it http://bit.ly/1dRYyVw.

I started using FB about 6 years or so ago.  At the time I was working for HP and they were doing some testing with the newly acquired Snapfish service and how it would integrate with FB.  I reluctantly agreed to sign up.  I had no idea what I was going to post and “put out there”.  For years I have had a personal website and a blog, so why did I need this FB thing?  For quite a while I barely used it other than to do the initial testing for work.  To get somewhat motivated using it, I decided to at least publish something once a week.  I started publishing 80’s music videos once a week on Wednesdays with some commentary about the video.

Over the years, FB became a sort of PITA.  It was like I was in high school all over again.  It was all too easy to get caught up with who was doing what.  It always seemed like people were doing wild and crazy things and then I started to realize statistically someone in my group of friends was going to have an “AWESOME DAY IN CANCUN!” event at least a few times a week.  There is nothing wrong seeing your friends posting these types of things, but it just grew tiresome.  I wanted authenticity.  If you had a “stepped in dog shite, got fired, had a flat tire, and the baby threw up on you” kind of day, say so!  That is what interests me.  Keep it real.  I like to hear about the good and the bad.  It just seems like on FB everyone only posts the “BITCHIN’ day! Just won the lottery!!!!” and nothing else.

When I signed off of FB, I decided to give other social media services a try. I tried Google+ and found it interesting with the way you could circle your friends into separate groups.  In practice I rarely sent something out to just a few people though.  I like the different communities that you could subscribe to.  What I didn’t care for was the “Google-ness” of the service.  My primary phone is a Nokia 1520 which is a Windows Phone 8 device.  There are no real Google apps for my phone.  Without those apps, it made it a chore to post things and to follow others.  I sort of gave up using the service because of this.  It was nice when I would grab my work Samsung Note 3, but that isn’t with me all of the time.

I started using twitter more and more often.  I like the spontaneity and ubiquity of the service.  I found it sort of hard to follow others as the timeline can be sort of hard to parse out what I wanted to follow other than trying to drink from the fire hose of data coming in.  I also found the 140 character limit a bit challenging at times.  I still use this service more than any other social media service, but I am not a heavy twitter user by any means.

So, the big question: Did I cheat?  Did I use FB while I had a self imposed ban on the service?  Well, yes and no.  I didn’t willingly sign in and post or read others posts during the past year.  I didn’t “Like” anything on the web (I never really did that anyways).  For the most part I stayed away.  The only time I did use the service was to sign into certain websites that use FB as an authentication service (this practice is LAME BTW).  I also inadvertently logged in when I set up various mobile devices.  A couple of times I needed a phone number or address that I realized was still locked up in FB-ville, so I needed to sign back in to get that info.

Will I come back to FB and start posting regularly or catching up with what people are doing?  Probably not.  That ship has pretty much sailed.  I just don’t feel the need to check in and follow what others are doing or make posts about my life.  I may just keep using it as an address book.

Andrew at work started a new campaign:  “No Facebook February” complete with wrist bands and all.  I think people are growing weary of FB and it is things like this that are showing the cracks in FB’s appeal.

No Facebook February!

No Facebook February!

My daughter is going to be 12 in March and has been asking about FB as some of her friends are on it.  The jury is still out on whether she will be able to be FB anytime soon, but when she does I will be one of those parents who will be on FB to check in on her FB to see how things are going.  I have shown her twitter and how it works and she thinks she may like that service better.

I like the combination of a blog for long winded pontifications and twitter for short updates about my life.  I use Flickr or SkyDrive to post pictures of what I am up to on the web.  These combination of services seem to work for me for the most part.

Who knows, maybe I will post a few more 80’s videos on Wednesdays  for old times sake 😉 .

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New Years resolution – No more Facebook

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions. I never felt the need to do one. If I need to make a change in my life, I just change it. Why wait for some arbitrary date?

Since I want to make a change in my life and it just so happens to be around the beginning of the new year, I am going to call it a New Year’s resolution.

I have decided to give up Facebook. I am not completely giving up Facebook per se. For the time being, I still want to have the ability to A) use Facebook as a universal contacts database (until I get off my duff and put all of the data somewhere else) and B) keep my account to log into some sites that require a Facebook account (note to web sites – Don’t be idiots and go this route. It is lame and it shows that you are lazy. It also creates a single point of failure. If someone hacks your Facebook account that is tied to say your bank account, you are screwed. Tying together authentication mechanisms is a recipe for disaster. Case in point).

So, what is changing? I am not going to be posting new content to my Facebook timeline. I am also not going to check what is going on in the Facebook world via the web site or on my phone.

Why am I doing this? Well, I am just tired of Facebook. I am tired of the “rat race” to be honest. I don’t get what most people put on Facebook (I don’t follow most sports except for rugby, I don’t care who is doing well on American Idol, and all the rest of pop culture). I am tired of seeing people’s progress on the Fartville Farm app or their zodiac charts for the day. Yes, I know I can block these, but I get tired of going in and blocking them as new games and apps appear. I am tired of the constant privacy changes. Who has the time to constantly be checking their privacy settings to make sure stuff that you don’t want to be seen by others stays that way? I know I don’t. I have other things to do. I don’t post a lot to FB, so that makes it somewhat easier to leave. To me Facebook is a poor way to communicate. I don’t like chatting all that much (why not just TALK to each other via phone or Skype, Gtalk, etc)? The FB email system is a joke; no threading, no relevant info that is easily searchable, etc. Since the terms of service for using Facebook keep changing, I don’t want to post any more content to their servers. I still don’t get why so many people post pictures to Facebook. Look what Instagram did (and later rescinded – sort of) with their terms of service. Who do you think owns Instagram (Save you a search: It’s Facebook)? Some things that I have posted don’t show up until I pay money to “promote” the post (seriously!?!?!). And lastly, enough with the walled gardens. Facebook wants to wall in the Internet into its own little cocoon of bits and bytes. Facebook wants to put a wrapper around what you see and experience on the web and track you ever step of the way. Nope….No thanks.

What will I do instead of using Facebook for social media and my <sarcasm> oh so important “web presence” </sarcasm>? Well, I mostly have been using twitter (which auto-feeds my FB timeline -turning that one off….now). My twitter account is @bradymac if you want to follow me there. I post my pictures on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradymacdonald/. I don’t post a lot on Google+ (I do like their communities feature), but here is my info in case you are interested: http://goo.gl/fvL5Z. I am also going to start using the Path (path.com) app more frequently.  I think they have the right idea for social media (at least for me).  Path  really does need a Windows Phone app though.  My website is http://www.bitflipper.com where you can find my email address and other info as well.

I guess I will see how this goes. I figure for those of you who want to keep in contact with me, we will do so by other means. Who knows, maybe I will give it up completely.