So, I just deactivated my Facebook account. If I read their blurb right, you can never leave completely - they keep your account around and wait for you to come back. I kinda wonder what it looks like to other people on the site.
Before I left, I painstakingly opened the profiles of each of the 73 people I’d connected to in 73 Firefox tabs and saved an html snapshot of their profile page to my hard disk. The fact that this was the only way of getting this information out of Facebook illustrates one of my complaints about Facebook. It’s an information sink, no matter how much their “open” APIs pretend otherwise. Try getting a simple email address or a phone number out of that API.
But that wasn’t the reason I left. It was a vague sense that had been accumulating for a week or two that I didn’t feel right being “there”. It crystallized as I was reading the latest response in this fascinating thread that’s been spinning around the blogosphere for the last few weeks. Being on Facebook feels like being in a club, and I don’t really like clubs. I don’t have a problem with other people being in clubs, I don’t even mind visiting clubs from time to time, but it’s just not my thing to be a member.
There are a bunch of other things wrong with Facebook too, like the fact that their messaging sucks; that their application model is wrong, wrong, wrong; and that I’m really tired of seeing display ads for acne medicine.
I know I will be missing out on a bunch of interesting updates from people I care about (although maybe they will move that stuff to Twitter), perhaps making it harder for a few people to get in touch with me (although, really, it’s not that hard…), perhaps even missing a few business opportunities. I’m probably missing out on some awesome networking opportunities by not joining the Seattle Tennis Club, too.
The thing is, when I interact with someone on Facebook, it kinda feels like being at the Tennis Club - like everyone’s got a facade on, that everything is a little bit fake. When I trip over someone’s blog, or even their MySpace page, it’s like bumping into someone on the street - genuine, raw, with the tantalizing possibility of something unexpected.
I like that better.