Social Question

Disc2021's avatar

What are your reasons for leaving facebook (or never joining in the first place)

Asked by Disc2021 (4491points) August 29th, 2010

I did the unimaginable the other day. I logged in, went into “account settings” (sweating profusely the whole time) and hit the “deactivate account button”. I immediately jolted back out of my chair, awaiting all electronics to fail, the clocks to stand still, the sky to fall and the hellfire to consume the world entirely. To my surprise… nothing happened.

I deactivated my Facebook account for a number of reasons (which I’ll list). I’m just curious to hear the input from others; any stories leading up to why you left or also any reasons for keeping it. Mostly just to clear up any misconception.

- It’s become another popularity contest. You really have 2,000 tangible, authentic friends? Really? This is why I don’t miss Myspace. My real friends call me, see me, hang out with me and make an effort/take initiative to keep in contact. All the others are just imaginary. I have a number, a pair of ears and a mouth and while they’re all still working, I’d prefer to use them.

- It isn’t twitter. No, it’s an even better twitter. Not only do your family, friends, co-workers, friends-of-friends, neighbors and potential burglars know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it, but they have all of the photographic evidence they need to confirm their suspicions. In my situation, it was to the point where people knew what I was going to do before I actually did it, without me even mentioning my plans in my status!

- It’s time consuming. Why? Why? I don’t understand why (though I’m not proud to admit) I’ve sat there for hours going through pictures of friends of friends of friends of friends and sometimes even completely random people instead of studying for exams, writing papers or even just simply reading books. More often than not, I’ve found more useless information on Facebook than I’ve ever found (with effort, even) anywhere else. Why??

- It’s a poor excuse for communication. I said it. The only “happy birthday’s” I remember are the one’s that I either get in person or by phone (or by cards in the mail, that takes some effort). I find Facebook to be just a lazy way of checking in on family, friends and other people we supposedly care about. “Facebooking” your family members or friends over facebook isn’t “keeping in touch”, it’s what’s keeping everyone apart. Calling/writing each other and engaging in interaction is what we as a society are really starting to lose touch with.

- Drama. Need more be said?

Sorry for the length —As Facebook being as big as it is (there’s a fucking movie coming out reflecting the story of how it all started), I have a lot to say about it and it seems most people do. If you don’t already have an account I’m sure you have friends or family that do. So let me hear your stories, thoughts, concerns, comments, likes, dislikes, etc. on this phenomenon.

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33 Answers

DeanV's avatar

Pro: All my friends are on there.

Con: All my friends are on there.

I’m just not quite social enough for Facebook. Sorry, I don’t care about your relationship status or whether or not your cat died.

Plus the TOS is terrible.

Disc2021's avatar

@dverhey The funny thing is I end up almost never checking the friends/family’s (that I see regularly and keep in contact with) Facebook pages. I usually end up just dicking around on other people’s pages or occasionally making a funny comment here and there.

Frenchfry's avatar

I deleted mine because I was getting mail from people who I didn’t even know. Please be my friend. I also got a nasty virus from there. I had to have a computer guy fix it. $150.00. It this anti virus program that takes over your computer. The computer guy said it comes from Facebook. I didn’t need to keep in contact with my friends that bad.They can email me the normal way and send me pictures.

Sarcasm's avatar

I’m sure I’ll be the odd-man-out in this question, since it’s one for bashing Facebook. But somebody has to take the opposing viewpoint.

I wasn’t aware facebook was a popularity contest. I have fewer than 100 friends, and I intend to keep it that way. If you felt like you were getting sucked into the popularity contest, it may be an issue with your personality, and not the website.

Not only do your family, friends, co-workers, friends-of-friends, neighbors and potential burglars know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it, but they have all of the photographic evidence they need to confirm their suspicions
In which universe? Facebook has a lot of privacy settings. Personally, I utilize most of them. I have it set so that I don’t even appear in the searches for my name. I also have it set so that non-friends can only see the city in which I live, and the pages of which I am a fan (Uh oh, outsiders know that I’m a fan of the Human Rights Campaign!). That’s all. They can’t see my albums, they can’t see my wall posts.
You can also set specific settings for specific friends. If I don’t want my mom to see that I’m in a relationship with a boy, I can hide that from her. If I don’t want my college friends to know that I’m an Anarchist, I can hide that from them.
It’s all in the privacy settings. You can’t complain about a lack of privacy if there are simple privacy features you don’t make use of.

It certainly is time-consuming. I don’t see that as problematic though.

And I disagree that it’s a poor excuse for communication. I don’t see why a written letter bears more importance than a typed one, or why a call is better than either of them.

And the drama? Well, that’s all based on who you’re friends with. I guess given that you had 20x more friends than I, you would expect a lot more.

My problem with Facebook is the terms of service. However, there’s no good alternative out there. I have high hopes for Diaspora, but not-so-high expectations.

DominicX's avatar

As someone who has over 1,000 Facebook friends, I can tell you that a “Facebook friend” is not the same as a friend friend. My “Facebook friends” includes every possible acquaintance and in some cases, it’s purely nostalgic (for example, a couple girls I went to elementary school with added me, but I haven’t talked to them since then).

No one is claiming that to have a 1,000 Facebook friends means that you are close and good friends with 1,000 people.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Sarcasm They change the privacy settings all the time, resetting everyone’s to a default of “share!!!!!”. This means that it may not be as protected as you think it is if you haven’t heard of the latest change in settings, and that even if you are on top of it, it may take you several hours to get done with work so that you can change them – time in which people can look and see what you were hiding. The site design is especially easy for hackers because they don’t use all the security that they could – and that most smaller sites do for less personal information.

Also, I’ve had people I knew in real life deny me friendship because I had about 10ish friends. Once I had 300? They were more than happy to friend me.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Disc2021 Congratulations! Unfortunately, all you did with your deactivate was log out – there’s a huge difference between deactivating your account and deleting it.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I signed up for one to see what the fuss was all about. Not really impressed with it. I suck at social media sites anyway. I only still have one because a friend of mine in Utah has one and it’s another form of communication for us. That’s about it.

muppetish's avatar

I have a Facebook account. I have fewer than a hundred friends and periodically delete old acquaintances I have little interested in contacting. I do not budge with my privacy settings. I do not accept friend invitations from people I do not know (even friends of friends) and while I do read the Private Messages sent to me, I am more inclined to delete them than reply.

So, why don’t I just deactivate the darn thing? Because it’s an information well I’m not ready to give up yet. My friends will update and check their Facebooks. They will not always reply to text messages, e-mail, or sign onto Instant Messengers. Post something on their wall and you will get a response in five seconds. I’ve come to terms with this. If keeping my Facebook account means I can reach people quicker and efficiently, so be it. I don’t mind all that much.

I don’t really spend much time on Facebook itself at all. If I have a paper to write, I might kill an hour playing Bejeweled Blitz while contemplating my thesis statement, but it’s not like I wouldn’t seek distractions elsewhere.

As long as it isn’t a crutch I rely on to get through the day, I’m okay with keeping my account. It’s not the spawn of evil or anything.

Disc2021's avatar

@Sarcasm I also called for reasons others are still keeping it and the possibility of misconceptions —opposing viewpoints are welcome and I appreciate your reply. It may appear as I’m bashing Facebook, but really, I’m just listing my dissatisfaction with it over recent times and curious about what others have to contribute (or in your case discredit =P).

- Being sucked into the “popularity contest” may possibly be an issue with my personality, how? I have very few people I call “friends” as friendship means more to be than just that random guy I’ve met once or twice or make small talk with. Or in this case, that random person that writes on my wall occasionally.

Then I get those random friend requests that if I dont accept, the implication is somehow that I dont like the person (which isn’t always true). Or if I dont have a certain number of friends, I’m not a friendly or popular person (which isn’t true, I may or may not be popular but I’m very friendly).

- The privacy settings are there, yes, but to me that sort of just defeats the purpose of having a Facebook page in the first place. Why have a page that no one can see? Why should I need to go through all of the trouble of hiding this and that and what others see when I could just eliminate the problem by pulling the root? There are times I’ve been tagged in pictures (mind you, that I didn’t want to be tagged in) and was away from a computer (or in class where I couldn’t un-tag myself via iPhone). I find privacy settings on a “social networking” to be more of a hassle than they’re worth. I don’t want to go through the trouble of hiding things or keeping things in secrecy and for that matter if these things are that private, I’d prefer they never reach the internet to begin with.

- It’s time-consuming but that isn’t problematic. Let’s agree to disagree here – personally, I say it is problematic as I have more important things to worry about and so far Facebook has only served as a distraction.

- To me, a phone call is a gesture that says “Look, I care about you. I’ve taken the time to call you up, hear your voice and speak to you through a 2-way communication line”. Writing a letter or a card and mailing it with thoughtful words (granted, it’s not the “greenest” way to go) I’d regard as another considerate, kind gesture that says “Look, I took the time to think about you, bought you a card and sent it to your mailing address (or gave it to you face-to-face). Writing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” on my wall at 2 in the morning while you’re in your underwear, returning from the bar just tells me you saw the little “It’s @Disc2021 birthday!” notification on the side and worked up the energy to type up a quick but not genuine message. You would really rather get the one-line message from your friends or family over the internet than to actually hear their voice or see them face to face? Perhaps another area we’ll have to agree to disagree.

- Unless you have 15 friends, I didn’t have 20x more friends than you. I’ve had a little under 300 friends that consisted mostly of old friends and random people I’ve met here and there.

People seem to gravitate towards Facebook as a means of settling their social disputes rather than handling their problems in person – or better yet, keeping petty problems to a minimum. It generates jealousy for those in relationships, provides people a soap-box to spew any hateful or derogatory commentary about just about anything and the friending/unfriending system before and after arguments just begs an even bigger fight. Even if I wasn’t involved in any of the drama going on in my Facebook world, it was definitely there and often a nuisance.

Disc2021's avatar

@muppetish That’s the problem! How is it that friends can’t reply to text messages, don’t return phone calls, keep so busy day in and day out but yet check their Facebook every nanosecond of the day as well as reply to everything anyone ever sends their way on there? Remember when we used to do all of this stuff in person?

Personally, I’d just rather be with my friends/family/friends-of-friends in person engaged and actively involved on whatever we’ve decided on doing. Not sitting on Facebook all day.

As far as the friends that dont reply to text messages, don’t make an effort to come around or talk to you go – are “Facebook friends” really any better? Granted, there are friends and family that move long distances away and in that situation I get the point. However, do people really prefer to receive simple little messages online from distant friends pretending to care than facing the cold hard reality, that those people in fact just dont care enough to take the initiative and call you?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Disc2021 If they don’t respond to texts/voicemails/emails but do respond to facebook, we’re probably not friends – I’m clearly not important enough to them to have a real friendship.

Disc2021's avatar

@papayalily Precisely, eloquently put. For that matter, if you aren’t important enough for them, I say, why should they be important enough for you?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Disc2021 I can’t think of any reason :-)

muppetish's avatar

@Disc2021 I don’t know why they check their Facebook every nanosecond, but I can’t change what they do. If I delete my account, it will be one less website I have to check every day, but it also means going further lengths to grab the attention of certain people (and when this involves organizing group study for courses or contacting the students I tutor, I have to employ their preferred method of contact over my own.)

One thing I do like about Facebook is it’s a good website to use when I want to pass things along to my brothers. An interesting article, a photo I took, a silly meme that made me laugh. I don’t want to spam their e-mail through the day, and text messaging isn’t that great at sending a variety of media (at least not with my phone.) Could I find a similar function as this from a different networking website that’s not so… I don’t know the word, clinical as Facebook? Yeah, but I have a Facebook. Might as well use it.

I wouldn’t implode if I were to delete my account. I probably wouldn’t miss it much at all.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@muppetish I’m thinking of re-getting a facebook just for school projects, but then it involves turning down all the friend requests from friends whom I dearly love but don’t want to be facebook friends with (ruins a perfectly good friendship) and then deal with that drama.

Disc2021's avatar

@muppetish That’s understood given your situation. I’ll agree, it’s convenient on a few different levels.

serafina's avatar

I’ll keep it brief, i had one for a day and de activated it. I was getting messages and invites from people that i did not know. Those i knew from school that i wasn’t really close to (I do keep in touch with those i did like from school via phone/email) appeared on my wall using it as a chat-room, the content of the conversation didn’t involve me, but they felt the need to be complete dumb-ass’s on mine. I think if you filter through your invites to those you really want to have in your profile then you’d find that these are people that you are already in touch with by other means, like in person or via telephone. I personally do not need somewhere on-line that i need to log into to keep in touch with my friends.
Others may have a need to fill their pages with 786 pretendy friends as part of some popularity contest, but i don’t.

Deja_vu's avatar

I still have my Facebook. It’s my online address book. Alot of my friends and family are scattered around the world after the years and it’s a nice way to keep in touch. I only go on it from time to time. All my friends on facebook are indeed my authentic friends in real life. I don’t add people for the hell of it. It’s not a popularity contest for me, either. That’s not why I use Facebook. It’s a valueble source for me to stay connected with these people. I don’t mess around on it. In the mean time I’m not deleting mine.

Odysseus's avatar

I done it 2 weeks ago, but did you realise that when you “DEACTIVATE ACCOUNT” that you can still log on as usual and all of your info is still there????
I then spent 1.5hrs deleting every contact, post,photo,comment and personal detail. Then I got a new email account and closed my old one… Then I ‘DEACTIVATED’ my account.
Thats facebooks big downfall, it allows no personal control or privacy, but there is a NEW Flag flying in the horizon, Diaspora

Ben_Dover's avatar

FB is a cool way to find old friends from the past (if you are old enough to have a past) and reunite with them.
Anyone stupid enough to put on enough info to get robbed is…well, stupid.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’d just like to say I agree with @Sarcasm. I rarely use Facebook, so it’s not time consuming. I have no drama there, and it helps me keep up with family and friends. I’d also like to say that my Fluther friends that are Facebook friends are a great group of people. They are very supportive.

I see more drama here than I do on Facebook (in fact, I see no drama on Facebook. I don’t associate with drama queens), and Fluther takes up much more of my time than Facebook does. Facebook is what you make of it.

john65pennington's avatar

You left out one of the most important reasons for leaving Facebook…....viruses.

Each time i visit, i have to clean-scan my computer for viruses.

SundayKittens's avatar

I’ve recently really become aware of how little control I have over people sharing pictures/info about me, and that really aggravates me . If I want to get wasted in Vegas and give a stripper money with my teeth, I don’t need the entire Facebook world knowing via a mobile upload.

It’s made me have to censor myself and that makes me want to blow up the internet.

mandybookworm's avatar

hmm that’s funny, I just deleted my facebook account because I found that it was too addicting. I searched google and found a million other reasons as well, most having to do with privacy. this is a good site to look at.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@mandybookworm Zuckerberg is evil.

mandybookworm's avatar

@papayalily I have to agree with that

SundayKittens's avatar

The thing that keeps me with it is that I have lived several places, and it is ideal to keep my friends/family together in one spot.
Also, I can announce community stuff so easily. It works.

Otherwise, ugh.

Disc2021's avatar

@mandybookworm I’ve come across a few websites like that articulating it’s terms of service and un-private privacy system as well as heard the of the virus problems @john65pennington speaks of. These things suggest to me that there is a hidden agenda going on that I’d just rather not be a part of.

@SundayKittens – Perfectly identifies my point, that it’s an even better and more effective Twitter, even if you yourself didn’t intend it to be. People can literately upload pictures of you seconds after taking them and suddenly your whole webbing of friends (and anybody else) is informed. It doesn’t stop there – those friends spread “the word” to their friends, etc. I agree, it’s extremely irritating.

I also agree, though, scheduling events or reaching a particular group of people all at once is made very convenient on Facebook.

@papayalily I’m aware that I’ve only deactivated or “logged out” from my account. For now, I’m keeping it on standby. If in a month or two I dont miss it, I will look forward to terminating it the best I can. As of now I honestly dont see what I’m missing.

I get a kick out of how they put up picture links of a few friends captioning “So-and-so will miss you…”. Haha.

SundayKittens's avatar

@Disc2021 Yes! It wouldn’t be such an issue if I weren’t a teacher in a small town. You might say..well, just don’t have those community folks on your list. But it’s not that easy in a small, southern town. Ugh.

Ben_Dover's avatar

@SundayKittens Why would you commit to writing anywhere that you got wasted in Vegas and gave a stripper money with your teeth?

SundayKittens's avatar

I didn’t say I did, I said if I wanted to.

Ben_Dover's avatar

LOL…Why would you want to?

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