One year ago I started this blog with the intentions of moving off Facebook completely. I knew something wasn’t right well-ahead of the 2016 election but this was before the full details of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal came out. Let alone the complete rundown in the New York Times article: Delay, Deny, and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis, which outlines a series of missteps, none of which gives me anymore reason to want to stay on Facebook. I’d always been uncomfortable with how much of my personal data Facebook owned, but I never realized the implications could be on such a massive scale that could bring us to where we are today. 😕
My Facebook History
I first started my Facebook account May 1st, 2005 while attending the University of Kansas, one of the earlier schools to gain access at the time. My posts started simply enough, mainly recapping college shenanigans, conveniently missing my early college days that I’m thankful aren’t fully documented online. I was a senior at the time. On November 19, 2007 Facebook removed the “is…” so posts no longer had to be framed in the context of “Maria Scarpello is…” which helped encourage us to post anything we wanted in any context we needed. When events and groups were added it made it that much more convenient to coordinate with friends and special interests.
As time evolved my use of Facebook took many forms. I went from mostly life status updates, to travel updates, to nearly exclusively sharing news articles or information I found useful or important. In the past 5 years as the newness of living life on the road wore off and the political news got more and more absurd, my Facebook posts were much less about this is what I’m doing vs. this is what I’m reading. I’m pretty sure this transition likely lost most of the interest friends had following me, as the liberal echo chamber probably seemed relentless.
On top of that, for years I’d always struggled with the fact that Facebook owns so much of my time. Their mechanisms to keep you coming back are apparent, effective, and annoying. I hate knowing how “easily” I could post on a site of my own, but that I’d still need to share back to Facebook if I wanted anyone to see it. I’ve also struggled with the fact that a few groups I’m fairly active in are mainly (or solely) active on Facebook. If I want to know about an upcoming event for my running club, or coordinate with my Burning Man theme camp, Facebook has really been the only way for me to do that.
Why not start a blog then?
Working daily with WordPress, one might ask, why not just blog what you want to say? Well the short answer is… I have, sort of. Since I was hired to work at WooThemes over 6 years ago, I’ve consistently blogged 5 days a week, however this has all been in the form of internal private blog posts regarding work. Between responding to support requests, writing internal p2 posts, and communicating with my team on Slack I always told myself I’d spent enough of my day writing, I didn’t want to spend more time blogging.
In fact, since Woo was acquired by Automattic in July 2015 I’ve posted 1,575 times with a total of 3,447 comments for a combined total of 498,332 words! So while I’ve done a ton of blogging, it’s not been about personal topics that are important to me outside of work, which is largely how I’ve used Facebook since, as a easy way to share information I think is important for my friends to know about.
“Problem” is it’s quick and easy to post to Facebook. I typically don’t have to give it a ton of thought past what’s on the top of my mind, which is often the exact opposite mentality I have when “writing a blog post”. We’re talking the difference of 2 minutes to post a thought vs. an hour or more to write a blog post, which is a very significant time difference. Not to mention the visibility Facebook posts can give me is superior to any other social network or site I could have posted to.
So what gives?
Despite all the excuses I’ve given myself, the mechanisms Facebook has put in place that gets me to stay, and delays I’ve had trying to motivate myself to start this blog, the time is now. For those that know anything about me, when I see something isn’t right, I’m not silent about it. Words aren’t enough for me, action is important. Which brings me to today…
I can no longer support what Facebook has built, nor will I continue to standby as reports of management and data missteps continue to be revealed. I do not trust Facebook and I (mostly) blame them for our current administration situation. Facebook will no longer own my personal information for their own profit. I’m taking my data back into my own hands. As it should be.
From now on any info I feel worthy to share will be posted here. I’d love it if you subscribed to this blog ⬇️to get updates. Even though I doubt many people will ever see this, I don’t care… this is something I personally have to do. It’s not worth it for me to continue the perception that Facebook is the only way for me to stay connected. The only way to prove it to myself is to unplug from them completely. So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve got many words for Facebook, but two ring most true to me today:
Maybe one day someone will build a WordPress importer for the Facebook content I’ve downloaded so I can archive past moments in my life that I’d want to share with the public, on my own site… 🙏🏽