Why I no Longer use Facebook

A couple people have asked me why I deactivated my Facebook account. I have a few reasons, if you care to read them.

I have no grudge against MySpace, Facebook, Xanga, or any of the other social networking sites.  My reluctance to join them is well known, but I did enjoy my time on Facebook (MySpace and Xanga - yuck).  Facebook got me in touch with some friends I haven't seen in years.  It's a great tool for reconnecting with old friends, and for keeping up-to-date with current events in your social circle.  My four reasons for leaving Facebook are intertwined and inseparable, but I have tried to order them so that they flow logically, one into another.

  1. Privacy: I dislike the recent changes to Facebook's privacy policies and controls.  By default more of  your information is publically available.  Facebook first attracted me because it had a reputation for privacy (something lacking at MySpace).  This is no longer a reason to use Facebook.
  2. Return on Investment: The service is free to you and I.  However, the Facebook company isn't doing this out of altruism.  Facebook gets most of their income by selling ads. Your personal information (interests, tastes, politics, beliefs) is used to make Facebook money.  You sell your personal details to Facebook, and in return get to socialize.  I was selling my personal information to Facebook too cheaply for the benefit I received from them in return.  I have a phone, email, and instant messaging to keep me in touch with friends and family.
  3. This Site: I pay to have my website hosted.  I have a quarterly payment as well as a yearly domain renewal fee.  I spend precious time making the site tick along the way I want.  I find I don't have enough time to do Facebook and update this site.  This site is more of an expression of my personality than Facebook could ever be, therefore I want to concentrate on JohnWoltman.com.  And if friends want to get in touch with me, there is always email and Google.
  4. Creepy: Facebook ads are targeted to your specific interests, geographic area, and tastes (and your friends' taste as well).  When I travel to Texas and log on to FB, the ads become about local Dallas attractions.  They get your location from your status updates as well as your computer's temporary Internet address.

Of course with me there is also a level of snobbishness: anyone can have a Facebook, a MySpace, a blog on WordPress.  Anyone can rent an apartment, but only a few people can build a house.  I am choosing not to live in the Facebook tenement: this is my house on the Internet, and if you don't like it, get off my lawn!

This article was updated on December 19, 2009