Happy Facebook Day everybody! This post is being published at 7:00 am, and odds are that even at this early hour you’re already completely sick of hearing about Facebook’s IPO and how they have a billion users and are worth a trillion dollars etc etc etc.
We’ve certainly got our opinion of the IPO and of Wall Street in general, but we’re going to skip over all that. Today we’re taking this as an opportunity to talk a little bit about why we quit Facebook, and the many ways in which the world’s most successful website has failed us over and over again.
First, we should say that when we use the term “quit Facebook” we mean that we have deleted our personal Facebook account. This blog still has its own Facebook page. You can be our friend if you want, because it’s a personal page, even though it’s not our personal page. You can’t ‘like’ us, because we’re not a page-page, but you can still like us in the way you liked stuff before it was possible to ‘like’ stuff. Fair warning though, we seldom use that account for anything but posting links, and are considering deleting that one, too.
And that last paragraph, in a nutshell, is the whole problem with Facebook. It took more time and energy just to clarify our ‘status’ than it’s worth. To make this easier, here’s a bullet pointed list of some of the reasons we’re not on Facebook anymore:
- The IPO. Today is the day that FB goes from being responsible for itself to being responsible to shareholders. Exactly the same way Myspace was done for when it was bought by Newscorp.
- Timeline. Every ‘improvement’ Facebook has ever made has been terrible. The site may as well be in Mandarin Chinese it’s so hard to read now.
- FB is taking over the entire internet. It follows you around the web and sees where you go. Some (fairly large) sites don’t even have their own logins and comments anymore, but rely entirely on Facebook data.
- FB tries to be all things to all people. They saw that foursquare was successful so they added checkins. They saw Bandcamp start to grow so they added band pages. They are threatened by Twitter so they added that ticker box and subscriptions. Instagram got huge so they just bought it. All the while, they’re forgetting how to be Facebook.
- The privacy settings are meaningless. We don’t understand the privacy settings and neither do you. Any ‘social media expert’ that claims they do is full of shit. Even if you know how they work, they are constantly changing, and what you thought was safe is suddenly an opt-out.
- Can’t filter out junk fast enough. For fuck’s sake, we don’t need to see everything every friend ever did. Every time someone reads an article or plays a game or pins a Pinterest it shows up. Even when you tell it not to. And all different settings for mobile.
- Babies and wedding rings and shit. Just stop it already.
- FB shows us things from people we’re not friends with. And not subscribed to. Just because we have mutual friends. Facebook’s algorithms don’t know how friendship actually works. People don’t want to ‘add as friend’ the ex that just dumped them.
- Facebook decides what’s important. Hey guess what? We don’t need to hear only from our 4 best friends, cause those are the ones we actually talk to. Quit burying the news from those second tier friends who are actually interesting. Just cause your pregnancy pics have 50 likes doesn’t make them interesting. Also, quit burying our status updates. Drinking raki and watching Hot to Trot is important, damn it.
- The whole thing is unnecessary. Since we quit, our life is exactly the same. Maybe slightly better. That cover story in the Atlantic was pretty spot on. The only feature we kind of miss is event invites, but FB is slowly ruining those with unnecessary changes as well.
- We want our own web presence. That’s one of the main reasons we started this blog in the first place. Even back then we envisioned a day when we would be totally sick of Facebook, and not willing to adopt what came next. We may too one day get sick of our twitter (although not anytime soon) and no matter how many sites we quit, we’ll always have our own site on which people can find us and we can post our ‘status.’
When we tell people that we quit Facebook, we get the exact same reactions that we get when we say we’ve quit eating meat and driving a car: people are curious and even show a bit of admiration before starting to make excuses and justifications about why they could never do that. ‘Oh, but I’ve got family out of state.’ or ‘Yeah, but I need to be on there for work.’ No you don’t. There are other ways. You’ve just become apathetic.
So good luck with your IPO Facebook. Enjoy your trillion dollars and your long slow slide downhill from here. For years you’ve made us socially lazy and promised things you could never deliver. That stops today.