I finally did it. I finally ditched the beast. I deleted my facebook account. Not went on hiatus. Not deactivated. Deleted.
Why? There are a lot of reasons. There was one in particular that acted as a tipping point-—each time I logged in, a box had appeared, a pop-up that would not allow me to interact with the page at all unless I interacted with it first. It read something to the effect of: “Golly gee, now you can enable facebook notifications on your computer itself, so that even when you’re logged off the site, we can still bombard you with how many likes your last post got, or irrelevant events that are supposedly near you, even though we’re telling you about stuff in NYC, and you live in Boston without a car.”
There were two available responses to this pop-up. One was “enable” (like fucking hell I would), and “not now.” Not “not on your life you fucking info-sucking ticks,” not “yeah, I get that this thing exists, but I won’t use it, so don’t show it to me again, thanks.” Another option wasn’t hidden in some tiny link text. No. Just “not now.” As if to say, “we’ll wear you down, and eventually you’ll mis-click on the wrong button” or perhaps “we’ll give you an option to refuse for now, but it won’t always be this way.” Considering their track record with Messenger, this latter approach would not surprise me.
Facebook also has this tendency to roll things out for a small portion of their users at a time. Friends of mine would see features days or weeks before I ever did. None of my friends reported seeing this pop-up, and it has me wondering just how widely this “feature” has been seen. Was it because I used neither Messenger nor the facebook app, and instead only ever accessed their services through a browser? Was this something they intended to roll out more broadly?
In the end, it had an effect. The effect was me leaving. Done, bye-bye, deletion. The idea of incessant alerts on the machine I use as a tool to help improve my focus by selectively turning on or off various inputs and services according to time of day or scheduled activities was horrifying to say the least. As someone with ADHD, and a tenuous ability to organize myself at best, there was just no way to reconcile accidentally clicking that button and then having to hunt through my machine like a Florida gardener passing back and forth over the same vegetable bed trying to eradicate air potato sprouts.
This aversion, along with my distaste for facebook’s unethical approach to research, the creation of divisive echo chambers with no room for real discussion, and their way of rewarding people for shallow repeated interactions, finally led me to cut the cord. If you want me, you can find me here, or on Twitter. Or out in my backyard, gardening, thankful that as a Boston resident, I no longer have to deal with air potato plants.